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Ciifiltsl) Surnames* 







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" Imago animi, vultus, vitse, Nomen est."— Puteanus. 




Preface .... 

Chapter I. 
Of Proper Names of Persons in general . 

Chapter II. 
Of Surnames .... 

Chapter III. 
History of English Surnames — Anglo-Saxon Period 

Chapter IY. 
History of English Surnames since the Norman Conquest 

Chapter Y. 
Of Local Surnames .... 


Note to Chapter Y 

Chapter YI. 

Of Surnames derived from Occupations and Pursuits 
Note to Chapter YI . 

Chapter YII. 
Of Surnames derived from Dignities and Offices 

. 13 



. 42 
. 92 

. 98 
. 121 





Chapter YIII. 
Of Surnames derived from Personal and Moral Qualities . 139 

Chapter IX. 
Of Surnames derived from Baptismal Names . .149 

Chapter X. 
Of Surnames derived from Natural Objects • . . 175 

Chapter XI. 

Of Surnames derived from Heraldric Charges and from Traders' 

Signs . . . . .192 

Chapter XII. 

Of Surnames derived from the Social Relations^ Periods of 

Time, Age, &c. &c. . . . . 212 

Chapter XIII. 
Of Surnames indicative of Contempt and Ridicule . . 220 

Chapter XIV. 
Of Surnames derived from the Virtues, &c. . . 228 

Chapter XV. 
Of Surnames derived from Oaths and Exclamations . . 237 

Chapter XVI. 
Of Surnames originally Sobriquets . . . 240 

Chapter XVII. 
Surnominal Puns . . . . . 244 


F the oft-quoted sentiment of Te- 
rence — 

ll^^T " Homo sum ; liumaui nihil a me alienum puto," 

which drew down thunders of applause 
from the auditories of antient times, be 
equally deserving of respect in our own ; 
and if the assertion of Puteanus be true, 
that, " Sine Nomine, Homo non est,"'^" 
— that the name is esseyitial to the man^ — 
few apologies will be necessary for the 
publication of the following Prolusions, 
whose design is to illustrate the personal 
and generic nomeuclature of an impor- 
tant and influential section of the human 
race. The utilitarian, it is true, may regard my 
labours as of little value, and put in a ' Cui bono ?' 
but my reply to him shall be a brief one. — "Whatever 

* Diatr. De Erycio. 


serves to gratify a laudable, or even a merely harm- 
less, cmiosity, is useful, and therefore not to be 

That a cmiosity as to the origin of proper names, 
and particularly of surnames, has prevailed to some 
extent is certain, from the number of literary men 
in England who have written (however slightly and 
unsatisfactorily) upon the subject, within the last 
three centuries ; and that it still prevails is shown 
by the fact that since I undertook, a few years ago, 
more fully to illustrate the history and signification 
of our Family Names, scarcely a single week has 
passed without my receiving communications on the 
subject, both from literary friends, and from total 
strangers, unconnected with literature. Hundreds 
of letters from all parts of this country, from Scot- 
land, Wales, Ireland, France, Belgium, and America, 
convince me, at least, that the inquiry is not devoid 
of interest, while at the same time they afford a 
flattering testimony that my investigations have 
been well received and appreciated. 

The history of proper names not only affords a • 
very curious chapter for the etymologist, but also 
illustrates the progress of society, and throws much 
light upon the customs and pursuits of departed ages. 

With regard to English Surnames, there are two 
circumstances which demand remark in this Preface: 
namely, their great variety, and their extraordinary 


That they should exhibit the former feature is not 
surprising, since, in the words of an eminent anti- 
quary,* " we have borrowed names from everything 
both good and bad." As this variety will fully 
develope itself in the respective chapters of the pre- 
sent Essay, I shall merely insert here, by way of 
proof, two or three lists of the surnames occurring 
among many others, in some of our public bodies. 
The first is from the humorous ' Heraldic Anomalies' 
of Dr. Nares : 

" I have seen what was called an * Inventory of the Stock Exchange 
Articles,' to be seen there every day (Sundays and holidays excepted) 
from ten till four o'clock. 

" A Raven, a Niglitingale, two Daws and a Swift. 
A Elight and a Fall ! 
Two Foxes, a Wolf and two Shepherds. 
A Taylor, a Collier, a Mason, and a Tanner. 
Three Turners, four Smiths, three Wheelers. 
Two Barbers, a Paynter, a Cook, a Potter, and five Coopers. 
Two Greens, four Browns, and two Greys. 
A Pilgrim, a King, a Chapel, a Chaplain, a Parson, three Clerks, 

and a Pope. 

Three Baileys, two Dunns, a , and a Hussey ! 

A Hill, a Dale, and two Fields. 

A Rose, two Budds, a Cherry, a Flower, two Vines, a Birch, a 

Fearn, and two Peppercorns. 
A Steel, two Bells, a Pulley, and two Bannisters. 

"Of towns: Sheffield, Dover, Lancaster, Wakefield, and Ross. 
Of things : Barnes, Wood, Coles, Staples, Mills, Pickles, and, in fine, 
a Medley! 

* Camden. 


" Our House of Commons has at different and no very distant times 
numbered amongst its members — 

A Eox, A Hare, A llooke, 

Two Drakes, A Finch, Two Martins, 

Three Cocks, A Hart, Two Herons, 

Two Lambs, A Leach, A Swan, 

Two Bakers, Two Taylors, A Turner, 

A Plummer, A Miller, A Farmer, 

A Cooper, An Abbot, A Falconer, 

Nine Smiths ! ! ! 

A Porter, Three Pitts, Two Hills, 

Two Woods, An Orchard, and a Banie, 

Two Lemons with One Peel ! 

Two E-oses, One Pord, Two Brookes, 

One Flood and yet but one Fish ! 

A Forester, an Ambler, a Hunter, 
and only One Ryder. 

" But what is the most surprising and melancholy thing of all, it 
has never had more than one Christian belonging to it, and at present 
is without any !" 

From many other pieces of humour of the same 
kind I select the two following. The first is an 
impromptu occasioned by the proposed elevation of 
Alderman Wood to the office of Lord Mayor, some 
years since : 

" In choice of Mayors 'twill be coufest. 
Our citizens are prone to jest : 
Of late a gentle Flowey- they tried, 
November came, and check'd its pride. 
A Hunter next on palfrey grey 
Proudly pranced his year away. 
They next, good order's foes to scare. 
Placed Birch upon the civic chair. 
Alas ! this year, 'tis understood. 
They mean to make a Mayor of Wood T 


The next is from a Methodist Almanack pub- 
Kshed three or fom* years since, and is entitled 
' Wesley an Worthies, or Ministerial Misnomers.' 

" If ' union is strength,' or if auglit's in a name, 
The Wesleyan Connexion importance may claim ; 
For where is another — or Church, or communion — 
That equals the following pastoral union : 

A Dean and a Deakin, a Noble, a Squire, 
An Officer, Constable, Sargeant, and Cryer, 
A Collier, a Carter, a Turner, a Tayler, 
A Barber, a Baker, a Miller, a Naylor, 
A Walker, a Wheeler, a Waller, a Ridler, 
A Eisher, a Slater, a Harpur, a Fidler, 
A Pinder, a Palmer, a Shepherd, and Crook, 
A Smith, and a Mason, a Carver, and Cook ; 
An Abbott, an Usher, a Batcheler Gay, 
A Marshall, a Steward, a Knight, and a Day, 
A Meyer, an Alde-mann, Burgess, and Ward, 
A Wiseman, a Trueman, a Ereeman, a Guard, 
A Bowman, a Cheeseman, a Colman, with Slack, 
A Britten, a Savage, a White, and a Black, 
French, English, and Scots — North, Southerne, and West, 
Meek, Moody, and Meysey, Wilde, Giddy, and Best, 
Brown, Hardy, and Ironsides, Manly, and Strong, 
Lowe, Little, and Talboys, Erank, Pretty, and Young, 
With Garretts, and Chambers, Halls, Temple, and Flowers, 
Groves, Brooks, Banks, and Levells,Parkes, Orchards, and Bowers, 
Woods, Warrens, and Burrows, Cloughs, Marshes, and Moss, 
A Vine, and a Garner, a Crozier, and Cross ; 
Eurze, Hedges, and Hollis, a Broomfield, and Moor, 
Drake, Partridge, and Woodcock — a Beach, and a Shoar, 
Ash, Crabtree, and Hawthorn, Peach, Lemmon, and Box, 
A Lyon, a Badger, a Wolfe, and a Eox, 
Eish, Hare, Kidd, and Roebuck, a Steer, and a Hay, 
Cox, Ca'ts, and a Talbot, Strawe, Cattle, and Hay, 


Dawes, Nightingales, Buntings, and Martins, a Howe, 

With Bustard, and Bobin, Dove, Swallow, and Crowe, 

Ham, Bacon, and Butters, Salt, Pickles, and Rice, 

A Draper, and Chapman, Booths, Byers, and Price, 

Sharp, Sheers, Cutting, Smallwood, a Cubitt, and Rule, 

Stones, Gravel, and Cannell, Clay, Potts, and a Poole, 

A Page, and a Beard, with Coates and a Button, 

A Webb, and a Cap — Lindsay, Woolsey, and Cotton, 

A Cloake, and a Satchell, a Snowball, and Raine, 

A Leech, and a Bolus, a Smart, and a Payne, 

A Stamp, and a Jewel, a Hill, and a Hole, 

A Peck, and a Possnet, a Slug, and a Mole, 

A Horn, and a Hunt, with a Bond, and a Barr, 

A Hussey, and Wedlock, a Driver, and Carr, 

A Cooper, and Adshead, a Bird, and a Powler, 

A Key, and a Castle, a Bell, and a Towler, 

A Tarr, and a Shipman, with Quickfoot, and Toase, 

A Leek, and a Lilly, a Green, Budd, and Bowes, 

A Creed, and a Sunday, a Cousen, a Lord, 

A Dunn, and a Bailey, a Squarebridge, and Pord, 

A No-all, and Doolittle — Hopewell, and Sleep, 

And Kirks, Clarkes, and Parsons, a Grose, and a Heap, 

With many such worthies, and others sublimer. 

Including a Homer, a Pope, and A RHYMER." 

If English Surnames are remarkable for their 
variety, they are no less so for their number. How 
great the latter may be, it would be a hopeless task 
to attempt to ascertain : it is sufficient to say with 
the Rev. Mark Noble, that "it is almost beyond 
belief/' A friend of that gentleman " amused him- 
self with collecting all such as began with the 
letter A : they amounted to more than one thousand 
five hundred. It is well known that some letters 
of the alphabet are initials to more surnames than A : 


allowing for others which have not so many, the 
whole number will be between thirty and fortt/ 
thousand r' '^ 

The Rev. E. Duke, in his valuable and extremely 
curious * ?|alle of Softlt ?^alle/ starts the ques- 
tion, *' whether the English nomenclature is or is 
not on the increase?" and he decides that, not- 
withstanding many of the older surnames become 
extinct every century,! it is still on the increase, 

* Hist. Coll. Arms, Prelim. Dissertation. My late learned and highly 
esteemed correspondent E. J. Vernon, Esq. B.A., in some strictures on 
the second edition of this work, published in the Literary Gazette, ex- 
presses a doubt as to this estimate. He says the surnames derived "from 
Christian and Anglo-Saxon names and their modifications, amount to 
about 700 ; names from trades and offices, &c. to between 300 and 400 ; 
and 500 may be allowed for the other smaller classes ; making in all 1500 
or 1600. If now we keep to the random, but we think most ample, guess, 
of as many thousand local surnames, the total, which may be called 
between 15,000 and 20,000, will, we think, be much nearer the mark 
than Mr. Noble's estimate of ' between 30,000 and 40,000.' " 

I must beg, however, to state my conviction of the correctness of this esti- 
mate, or rather assert its falling short of the truth. There are thousands 
of names borrowed from places which are almost limited to the localities 
which gave them birth, and which would consequently elude the notice of 
the name-hunter, unless he penetrated into every nook and corner of the 
kingdom. There are more than 10,000 parishes in England; and topo- 
graphical antiquaries will bear me out in the assertion, that a single parish 
often comprises six, ten, or even more manors, hamlets, and other sub- 
divisions, each of which has surnamed its family. Besides, Mr. Noble's 
calculation is formed upon a basis which would rather fall short of, than 
exceed, the truth. 

t I am disposed to doubt the utter extinction of any name, when it has 
once become widely spread. Families, it is true, may fail in the elder or 
wealthier line, and female heirs convey property into other names ; but 
in an overwhelming majority of cases there are descendants of other lines 
of the family left, and these often ramify and' spread extensively in a more 


and he accounts for this singular fact, by the fol- 
lowing arguments: " Some [names] originated from 
the influx of foreigners caused by royal marriages — 
by refuge from persecutions — by expatriations arising 
from revolutions — by the settlement of alien manu- 
facturers ; and the names of many of these have 
often been altered and anglicised, and their pos- 
terity have in the bearing thereof become as genuine 
Englishmen. At other times fictitious names have 
started up and been perpetuated within our own 
country, from their adoption, in the removal from 
one part of the kingdom to another, by the criminal 
and by the insolvent. Another increment of names 
arises perhaps from the occasional settlement here 
of Americans and West Indians ; for it is a certain 
and curious fact that although America was origi- 
nally peopled from this country, yet it varies very 
essentially in its nomenclature from that of Eng_ 

Our great antiquary, the illustrious Camden, was 
among the first who paid any considerable attention 

plebeian grade. Hundreds of our old patrician names have survived the 
wreck of that greatness with which they were once invested. Why, the 
illustrious names inscribed on the famous Battel-Abbey Roll nearly all 
exist at this day, after a lapse of eight centuries, if not in the peerage, at 
least in the cottages of the poor, and often disguised in an orthography 
which almost defies identification. The reader will find this subject more 
fully discussed hereafter. 

* Vol. I, Notes, p. 404. One reason, among others, that might be 
assigned for this dissimilarity, is the large intermixture of Dutch, German 
and French families with those of English extraction. 


to the subject of English Surnames. He has an 
amusing and learned chapter on the subject in his 
' Remaines/ occupying, in an early edition, about 
forty-eight pages of that work. This forms the 
basis of all that can be said on English family 
names. After Camden comes Verstegan, who, 
though less accurate in his knowledge of the sub- 
ject, gives many useful hints which serve greatly 
for the purpose of amplification. Among more 
recent writers, four clergymen, the Rev. Dr. Pegge, 
the Rev. Mark Noble, the Rev. E. Duke, and the 
Rev. G. Oliver, have each added something new in 
illustration of the subject. It seems that various 
other antiquaries, whose productions have never 
seen the light, have been labourers in the same 
field. In Collet's ' Relics of Literature,' 1823, 
it is stated that, 

" Mr. Cole, the antiquary, was very industrious in collecting names, 
and in one of his volumes of MSS. he says, he had the intention, 
some time or other, of making a list of such as were more particularly 
striking and odd, in order to form the foundation of an Essay upon 
the subject. A friend of the present writer has gone much farther, 
and has collected several thousand rare names, which he has partly 

The late Mr. Haslewood also appears to have 
done something of the same kind. He had a most 
extensive collection, which was disposed of at the 
sale of his library, but which I have not been able 
to trace to its final destination. 


There are two manuscripts on Surnames in the 
Harleian collection. The first, No. 4056, ' Origin 
of Surnames,' is loosely written upon seven pages. 
It is a mere abstract from Camden, with scarcely 
anything additional, except a paragraph in which 
the writer differs from that author (as it will be 
seen that I also do), with respect to the precise 
date of the introduction of Surnames into England. 
The second MS. No. 4630, ' The original or begin- 
ning of Surnames,' is likewise from Camden, and 
has only a single original paragraph : of this I have 
availed myself at the proper place. Both MSS. 
form only portions of the volumes in which they 

Some years since, the Rev. George Oliver, of 
Grimsby, announced that he was preparing for the 
press a work on Surnames. This intention has not, 
I believe, been carried into effect. Judging from 
his able communication on the subject to the 
* Gentleman's Magazine,'* we cannot but regret the 
abandonment of his design. From that communi- 
cation I shall take the liberty of making an extract, 
which, while it expresses precisely my own views, 
will also serve as an apology for any incorrect con- 
clusions I may have arrived at in the course of 
these volumes. 

" To account for, and accurately to class, the 
whole circle of Surnames which at present abound 

* For 1830, i, 298. 


in the world, would probably exceed tbe capacity of 
the most talented individual, unless his whole and 
undivided attention were devoted to its study and 
developement ; and it is to be feared that the effect 
might appear greatly disproportionate to the means 
employed. In this respect the theory of surnames 
bears an affinity to the doctrine of fluxions, without 
the advantage of equal utility ; for as a knowledge 
of algebra, geometry, logarithms, and infinite series, 
is equally and indispensably necessary to a right 
understanding of fluxions ; so, to enter fully into 
the theory of surnames, an intimate acquaintance 
with history and antiquities, — dead and living lan- 
guages, — the state of society and manners in all 
ages and nations, — localities and peculiarities, — 
national and family connexions, — the passions and 
prejudices of human nature, — the cant words and 
technical phrases of every description of men, — is 
absolutely essential ; else the anxious theorist will 
be at a loss to comprehend the origin of many un- 
couth names, or the relation they bear to each other, 
diversified as they are by a succession of shades and 
tints which are almost imperceptible ; and he will 
find it difficult to determine with undeviating 
accuracy whether many of the names he investi- 
gates be primitive, derivative, or contingent ; or to 
trace them through all the devious and uncertain 
etymologies in which they are imbedded and en- 


Having thus mentioned Avhat my predecessors have 
done, it may be expected that I should give some 
account of my own humble labours. But as they are 
before the reader, I shall content myself with bor- 
rowing the words of Verstegan : " Because men are 
naturally desirous to know as much as they may, and 
are much pleased to understand of their own oflPspring 
[descent] which by their Surnames may well be dis- 
cerned, if they be Surnames of continuance, I have, 
herein, as near as I can, endeavoured myself to give 
the courteous reader satisfaction!' 

And, as I have been actuated by this desire, I 
deem it but justice to myself to state, that if I have 
assigned to any name a meaning that is little compli- 
mentary to the persons who happen to bear it, it has 
been the farthest from my intention to insult their 
feelings. So little has this been my wish or my endea- 
vour, that I have, on the contrary, made it one of my 
chief objects to investigate the etymology of many 
names which have generally been considered to imply 
something low or disgraceful, and have proved, satis- 
factorily I trust, that they mean nothing that their 
possessors have the slightest reason to be ashamed of. 
Thus, while I have ''filched" no one of his "good 
name," I have, I hope, been so happy as to make 
many a person upon better terms with his own appel- 
lative — which he may hitherto have considered 
(etymologically) anything but a good one— than he 
has ever been before. 


After all, "What's in a name?" "for neither the 
good names do grace the bad, neither doe evill names 
disgrace the good. If names are to be accounted 
good or bad, in all countries both good and bad haue 
bin of the same Surnames which as they participate 
one with the other in glory, so sometimes in shame. 
Therefore for ancestors, parentage, and names, as 
Seneca said, let every man say, Vix ea nostra voco. 
Time hath intermingled and confused all, and wee 
are come all to this present by successive variable 
descents from high and low ; or as hee saith more 
plainely, the low are descended from the high, and, 
contrariwise, the high from the low."* 

The present Edition of this work contains nearly 
three times as much matter as the first, and about 
double that of the second. The general arrangement 
is nearly that of the former editions, but every chapter 
has been materially enlarged, and several new chap- 
ters have been added. These additions, coupled with 
the rejection of whatever hypotheses formerly ad- 
vanced I have found untenable, almost constitute the 
present edition a new work. Proceeding upon the 
principle — "facile est inventis addere," my 'lyttel 
boke' has become a somewhat large one — the largest, 

* Camden. 


I think I may say, that has yet appeared upon the 
subject of proper names. It is also the only one of 
any considerable extent exclusively devoted to family 

This extension will explain itself to those readers 
who have honoured my former editions with a 
perusal. I have not forgotten the venerable adage, 
that ' a great book is a great evil ;' but the continual 
occurrence of names heretofore unknown or unno- 
ticed, and the extensive correspondence before alluded 
to, have almost inevitably conduced to this result. 
That my additional lucubrations may meet with the 
same indulgent reception as the former ones have 
done, is all that I can reasonably expect or desire. 

I cannot but anticipate disappointment, on the 
part of numerous readers, at the non-appearance of 
their names in these volumes. The immense scope 
of the subject must be my only apology. A vast 
multitude of names must necessarily have escaped 
my notice, and a large number have baffled all 
attempts on my part to give a reasonable account of 
their origin. Although it is quite true that " he 
teaches well who teaches all^' yet is the sentiment 
of the Greek philosopher* no less so : " As it is the 
commendation of a good huntsman to find game in a 
wide wood, so it is no imputation if he hath not 
caught all!' 

* Plato. 


In conclusion ; I should be guilty of great ingra- 
titude, were I to omit to offer ray sincerest thanks to 
those gentlemen who have rendered me valuable 
assistance in the production of these volumes. And 
first, my special acknowledgments are due to my 
intelligent and worthy publisher, Mr. John Russell 
Smith, who has spared no pains in placing within 
my reach many valuable works, to which I could not 
otherwise have had convenient access. To Charles 
Clark, Esq., of Great-Totham Hall, I am indebted 
for a list of upwards of 1500 of the most singular 
surnames in existence, which were collected by that 
gentleman, and with many of which this publication 
is enriched. The reference to the two manuscripts 
in the British Museum I owe to the Rev. George C. 
Tomlinson, rector of Staughton in Huntingdonshire, 
whose polite and unsolicited kindness entitles him to 
my warmest acknowledgments. 

Thus much as regards the original edition, which^ 
on its publication in 1842, immediately attracted the 
attention of those directors of the public taste, the 
Reviewers, Vvdiose notices of my humble performance 
were, upon the whole, most flattering. My thanks 
are especially due to the conductors of the ' Literary 
Gazette' for the handsome manner in which they 
threw open the columns of their valuable Journal, in 
ten or twelve of its numbers, to the discussion of the 
subject of this volume. The letters bearing the 
signature of B. A. Oxon. were of a peculiarly in- 


teresting character, and I was fortunately enabled to 
open a correspondence with the author, E. J. 
Vernon, Esq., a gentleman of extensive erudition 
and etymological skill. To him, as a trifling ex- 
pression of my sense of the value of his communi- 
cations, I had the pleasure of dedicating the second 
edition. With him I took much ' sweet counsel' 
upon the subject of our mutual researches, but alas ! 
that remorseless Tyrant, who regards neither youth, 
nor virtue, nor talents, proved both the falsity and 
the truth of his own ambiguous motto — 'Ver-uou 
semper viret' — and laid him low ere yet he had 
reached the summer of his days. He died in July, 
1847, after a brief illness; and in him society has 
lost a member of unspeakable worth, and the world 
of letters a most promising labourer.* 

To the Reverend Stephen Isaacson, M.A., I 
am greatly indebted, both for numerous anecdotes 
and suggestions, and for copious lists of surnames of 
remarkable character. 

I have likewise received considerable aid from the 
Reverend F. O. Morris, M. A., vicar of Nafferton, 
who has furnished me with several lists of names. 

George Monkland, Esq., of Bath, forwarded 
me a highly curious classified list of surnames made, 

* His only published work is ' A Guide to the Anglo-Saxon Tongue' 
(London, 184G), one of the best treatises of the kind extant; but I can state 
that he was engaged for the last two or three years of his life in collecting 
materials for one or more volumes of a philological character. 


like the others, with the most scrupulous attention 
to their authenticity. Of all these I have largely 
availed myself. 

Further names and illustrations have also been 
obligingly contributed by J. 0. Halliwell, Esq., 
F.R.S., F.S.A.; R. Almack, Esq., E.S.A., of 
Melford; E. Pretty, Esq., of Northampton; W. H. 
Blaauw, Esq., M.A., &c. ; Jabez Allies, Esq., E.S.A. ; 
Clement Ferguson, Esq., of Dublin; North Ludlow 
Beamish, Esq., F.R.S., &c. of Cork; Miss Twynam; 
John Sykes, Esq., of Doncaster; J. H. Fennell, 
Esq., &c. &c. &c. The Hon. and Rev. C. VY. 
Bradley, M.A., of Connecticut, U. S., most politely 
transmitted me a copy of his privately-printed bro- 
chure mentioned below. 

The following works have been consulted : 

Camden's "Remaines concerning Britaine, but especially England, 
and the Inhabitants thereof. The third Impression." Printed 
in 1623. 

Verstegan's " RESTiTUTioisr of decayed Intelligence iw Antiquities con- 
cerning Our Nation." IG05. 

The Archj50L0GIA of the Society of Antiquaries, vol. xviii, pp. 105- 
111, "Remarks on the Antiquity and Introduction of Surnames 
into England. By James H. Markland, Esq. E.S.A." 1813. 

''Prolusiones Historic^, or the Halle of John Halle; by the Rev. 
Edward Duke, M.A., E.S.A., &c." Vol. I, Essay I. 

"A History of the College of Arms; with a Freliminary Dis- 
sertation relative to the different Orders in England since the 
Norman Conquest. By the Rev. Mark Noble, E.A.S. of L. and E., 
Rector of Banning in Kent, &c." ISOi. 


"The Gentleman's Magazine," 1772. Several Essays, by Dr. Pegge, 

under the signature of T. Row (The Eector of Whittington) ; 

and many subsequent volumes of the same periodical. 
"A Dissertation on the Names of Persons. By J. H. Brady." 

12mo. London, 1822. With numerous manuscript additions by 

an unknown hand. 
" CuRiALiA Miscellanea, or Anecdotes of Old Times. By Samuel 

Pegge, Esq, P.S.A." 1818. 
" The Stranger in America. By P. H. Lieber." 
'•' An English Dictionary Py N. Bailey ^tXoXoyoe." 9th 

Edit. 1740. 
"Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary." 
"Buchanan on Antient Scottish Surnames [or Clans."] — 

Reprint. 1820. 
"Blount's Law Dictionary." 
"Talbot's English Etymologies." 1817. Svo. 
" Patronomatology, an Essay on the Philosophy of Surnames. By 

C. W. Bradley, M. A., Rector of Christchurch, Connecticut." 

Baltimore, 1842. Pp. ]6, 8vo. 
"The Irish Penny Journal." Dablin, 1841. A series of six 

articles on tlie * Origin and Meanings of Irish Pamily Names.' 

By Mr. John O'Donovan. P. 326 et seq. 
"Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary." New edition. 
"EssAi HisTORiQUE ET Philosophique sur les Noms d'Hommes, 

DE Peuples, et de Lieux, &c. Par Eusebe Salverte." Two 

vols. Svo. Paris, 1824. 
"Traite de l'Origine des Noms et des Surnoms. Par G. A. 

de la Roque." Paris, 1681. 

"On the Names, Surnames, and Nicknames of the Anglo- 
Saxons. By J. M. Kemble, Esq." 8vo, pp. 22. 1846. 

"A Dictionary op Archaic and Provincial Words, &c. By 
J. 0. Halliwell, Esq, E.R.S." Two vols. 8vo. 1847. 

" Three Letters on Norman Proper Names. By M. de Gerville." 
In ' Memoires de la Soc. des Antiquaires de Normandie,' vol. xiii, 
p. 265 et seq. 

Lewes y March, 1849. 






" Notre nom propre c'est nous-memes." 

TJR proper name (observes the learned 
and elegant Salverte) is ourself — in 
our thoughts, and in the thoughts of 
those who know us ; and nothing can 
separate it from our existence. 
A name, however apparently insignificant, instantly 
recalls to our remembrance the man, his personal ap- 
pearance, his moral attributes, or some remarkable 
event with which he is identified. The few syllables 
constituting it suffice to reopen the fountain of a be- 
reaved mother^s tears — to cover with blushes the fore- 
head of the maiden who believes her secret about to be 
revealed — to agitate the heart of the lover — to light 
up in the eyes of an enemy the fire of rage — and to 
I. ' 1 


awaken in the breast of one separated by distance from 
his friend the liveliest emotions of hope or of regret.* 
" This energetic power/' remarks the same writer_, 
'^ distinguishes the Proper Noun from the common 
substantive.^' It suggests no vague idea^ but enforces 
one that is positive and distinct. 

'' Our proper name is ourself ;" — without it we have 
not more than half an existence. Hence in the earliest 
and the rudest states of social life every human being 
received a name. I am aware that Herodotus and 
Pliny, and one or two modern writers, mention some 
barbarous races who bear no distinctive appellations ; 
but a little reflection before making the statement 
would have convinced them of the impossibility of the 
existence of language without proper names ; for in the 
most degraded condition of human existence, the occa- 
sional necessity of speaking of absent persons would 
involve the use of some epithet, and that epithet 
would be to all intents and purposes a Proper Name. 
The father of a family would impose a peculiar appel- 
lation upon each of his children, and they in return 
would give him a name by which to distinguish him 
from other men. In like manner, a name would be 
affixed to the superior power which was the object 
of their adoration or their superstitious dread; and 
all names so imposed must of necessity have been sig- 

As a principle so immediately connected with the 
design of this Essay, I repeat — that all names were 
ORIGINALLY SIGNIFICANT; although in the course of 
ages the meaning of most of them may have lapsed 
from the memory of mankind. It is most unphiloso- 
phical to arrive at the opposite conclusion. Invention 

* Salverte. 


without motives and without principles is as difficult in 
relation to this subject as to any other.* 

If the names of common objects were not dictated 
by mere caprice, how can we imagine that those of 
persons and of places had so vague a beginning. Let 
any one call to remembrance the names of his nearest 
friends and neighbours, and he will immediately recog- 
nise in them an identity with the names of the most 
familiar objects, as Wood, Church, Hall, Tree ; while 
others are epithets, as Wise, Good, Long, Little ; and 
a third class represent localities, as York, Chichester, 
Forest, Heath. He will then scarcely bring his mind 
to doubt that these, in their primitive application to 
persons, had some connexion with those objects, epi- 
thets, and localities respectively ; and if he thinks 
wisely, he will hardly reject as destitute of sense or 
meaning the still larger number of personal appella- 
tives which convey no distinct idea to his mind. 

It is matter to me of no little surprise, that among 
civilized nations the generality even of educated persons 
should be so incurious as they are on this subject. 
They seem indeed in this respect behind many of the 
barbarous tribes of both continents, who evince a desire 
with respect to a stranger coming amongst them, either 
to ascertain the meaning of his name in his own lan- 
guage, and to translate it, or to apply to him a signifi- 
cant appellation borrowed from their own dialect. 
From numerous anecdotes which might be adduced to 
prove this remark I will select one or two. 

The Sultan of Muscat taking for his physician an 
Italian gentleman, demanded by what name he was 
called. '^ Vincenzo," was the reply. ^^ I don't under- 
stand you,'' said the monarcli ; " tell me the meaning 

* Salverte. 


of tlie word in Arabic/^ The Italian translated it by 
' Mansour/ victorious ; and the prince, charmed with 
the happy presage attached to this designation, uni- 
formly stjded him Cheik Mansour. 

A chief of the Delaware tribe once asked the mean- 
ing of the name of Colonel Sprout, a gentleman of 
extraordinary stature. He was told that it signified a 
bud or sprig. " No,^^ replied the Indian, ^' he cannot 
be a sprig — he is the tree itself P^"^ 

If any further arguments are necessary to prove that 
Proper Names were originally significant, let us refer to 
the uniform practice of nautical discoverers with respect 
to names of places. Do they ever give to a rock, an 
island, a promontory, or a river an appellation without 
a meaning ? It requires but a moderate share of ety- 
mological knowledge to ascertain the origin of the 
greater part of the names of localities in any given 
country with whose ancient and modern dialects the 
inquirer is acquainted. A learned German, M. 
Frederick Schlegel, has thus found in nearly all the 
proper names of the Hindoos significant epithets ; and 
any one tolerably skilled in Anglo-Saxon, old French, 
and the English of the Middle Ages, might in like 
manner explain probably two thirds of our own proper 
appellatives both of places and persons. All the names 
of the Hebrews, as Salverte remarks, had a sense so 
marked that their influence is strongly felt in the lite- 
lature of that people. The same observation will apply 
with considerable force to the Arabs, the Greeks, and 
the Teutonic nations. Among uncivilized tribes the 
same significant force attaches to their personal nomen- 
clature ; and the American Indians, the Koriacs, the 
Marquesans, and the Kamtschatdales may be referred 

* Salverte. 


to as never imposing a name with the meaning of 
which they are unacquainted. 

It is an inquiry not devoid of some interest, " What 
would the annals of mankind and the records of bio- 
graphy be if people had never borne proper names ?'' 
A mere chaos of undefined incidents, an unintelligible 
mass of facts, without symmetry or beauty, and without 
any interest for after ages : " sine nomine homo non 
est/^ Indeed, without names, mankind would have 
wanted what is perhaps the greatest stimulus of which 
the mind is susceptible, namely, the love of fame ; and, 
consequently, many of the mightiest achievements in 
every department of human endeavour would have 
been lost to the world. 

In the first ages of the world a single name was 
sufficient for each individual — ^'^nomen olim apud omnes 
fere gentes simplex ;" and that name was generally 
invented for the person, in allusion to the circumstances 
attending his birth, or to some personal quality he 
possessed, or which his parents fondly hoped he might 
in future possess. The writings of Moses and some 
other books of the Old Testament furnish many proofs 
of this remark. This rule seems to have uniformly 
prevailed in all the nations of antiquity concerning 
which we have any records, in the earliest periods of 
their history. In Egypt we find persons of distinction 
using only one name, as Pharaoh, Potiphar ; in Canaan, 
Abraham, Isaac ; in Greece, Diomedes, Ulysses ; in 
Rome, Romulus, Remus ; in Britain, Bran, Caradoc, &c. 

Among most nations the imposition of names has 
been connected with religious rites. Among the Jews 
circumcision was the rite, as baptism is in the Christian 
church. The Greeks commonly named their infants 
on the tenth day after birth, on which occasion a hos- 


pitable entertainment was given by tlie parents to their 
friends, and sacrifices were offered to tlie gods. Thus 
in the ' Birds^ of Aristopiianes we read : 

■ Qvit) TTfv deKccrriv ravrriQ lyw, 

Kat Tuvvofx hXTirep Tvaidiq) vvv Se Srt[ii}v. 

" On the tenth day I offered sacrifice, 
And as a child's, her name imposed." 

The Romans gave names to their male children on 
the ninth day, and to girls on the eighth. The ninth 
day was called dies lustricus, or the day of purification, 
when religious ceremonies were practised. When the 
Persians name a child a religious service is performed, 
and five names are written by the father upon as many 
slips of paper, and laid upon a copy of the Koran. The 
first chapter of that sacred book is then read, and the 
slip bearing the future name of the child is drawn at a 

The SOURCES of Proper Names are exceedingly nu- 
merous as well as various. In very remote times per- 
sonal appellations marked some wish or prediction on 
the part of parents. To select fortunate names — the 
^ bona nomina' of Cicero, and the ' fausta nomina^ of 
Tacitus — was ever a matter of solicitude, since it be- 
came a popular maxim, ' Bonum nomen, bonum omen.^ 
'^ Plautus thought it quite enough to damn a man that 
he bore the name of Lyco, which is said to signify a 
greedy wolf, and Livy calls the name Atrius Umber 
^ abominandi ominis nomen,' — a name of horrible 

" Ex bono nomine oritur bona prsesumptio"— from 
a good name arises a good anticipation, says Panormitan; 

* Nares, Heraldic Anomalies. 


and Plato in the same spirit advises all people to select 
happy names^ — a recommendation which our novelists 
and dramatists are ever ready to follow with respect to 
their heroes. Victor, Probus, Faustus, Felix, and all 
similar appellatives, must in the first instances have 
been employed to mark the wishes of affectionate pa- 
rents, though the subsequent lives of the objects of 
those wishes often gave the lie to their names. We 
can hardly suppose that had the parents of Alexander 
been gifted with prescience they would have honoured 
that ^*^ murderer of millions'^ with a name signifying 
' the helper of mankind.^ 

Many of the earlier Hebrew names were composed 
of the first words uttered by the mother, the father, or 
some other person present at the instant of the birth. 
The dying Rachel called her infant ' Benoni,^ the Son 
of my Sorrow, but Jacob gave him the name of 
' Benjamin,^ the Son of my Strength. Incidents con- 
nected with the birth or early infancy of children also 
furnished many names, as the earlier books of the Old 
Testament sufficiently prove. 

Complexion and other personal qualities often gave 
rise to names, as Pyrrhus, ruddy ; Macros, tall ; Niger, 
black ; Paulus, little. The 07^der of birth originated 
others, as Quintus, the fifth, Septimus, the seventh ; 
while some had reference to the time of nativity, as 
Martius, Mains. 

All the foregoing classes of names might have been 
appropriately bestowed by parents upon their off'spring; 
but there is a very numerous class with the imposition 
of which they can have had nothing to do, and which 
we may suppose parental partiality would fain have 
prevented. I allude to those names which reflect upon 
personal blemishes or moral obliquities, and which we 


should now call nick-names or sobriquets, such as 
Tpvirog, eagle-nose ; ^vGKwvy gorge-belly; Calvus, bald ; 
Codes, one-eyed ; Flaccus, flap-eared ; Fronto, heavy- 
bro^Yed. These, from their very nature, must have 
been applied to adults, and by others than their parents 
or friends. Neither were the complimentary names, 
KaWiviKog, 'renowned for victory,^ ^iXaSeXcjyog, 'a 
lover of his brethren,^ JLvepyiTrig, ' a benefactor,-' &c. 
&c., conferred in very early life. 

Thus much for single names : in process of time the 
love of imitation led persons to adopt names Avhich 
had been, and were, borne by others ; and in order to 
obviate the inconvenience resulting from the difficulty 
of distinguishing contemporaries designated by a com- 
mon appellative, some second name was necessary. The 
most obvious mode of distinction would be by the use 
of the father^s name or patronymiCy and this is the 
earliest approach to the modern system of nomencla- 
ture. Caleb the son of Jephunneh, Joshua the son of 
Nun, are early examples ; so also iKa^oc tov Aat^aXov, 
Aai^aXog tov EuTroAyuou — Icarus the son of Daedalus, 
Dsedalus the son of Eupalmus; and it is worthy of 
observation that this primitive practice has descended 
to modern times in such designations as William Fitz- 
Hugh, Stephen Isaacson. 

Sometimes the adjunct expressed the country or 
profession, sometimes some excellence or blemish of 
the bearer, as Herodotus of ' Halicarnassus,^ Polycletes 
' the Sculptor,^ Diogenes ' the Cynic,' Dionysius ' the 

The Romans had a very complete system of nomen- 
clature. The whole commonwealth was divided into 
various clmis called ' Gentes,^ each of which was sub- 
divided into several families ('Familise'). Thus in the 


Gens Cornelia were included the families of the Scipi- 
ones, Lentuli, Cethegi, Dolabellse, Cinnse, Syllse, &c. 
It is doubtful, however, whether these familise were 
descended from a common ancestor, though they had 
religious rites in common. To mark the different 
gentes and familise, and to distinguish the individuals 
of the same race, they had usually three names, viz. the 
^ Prasnomen,^ the ' Nomen,' and the * Cognomen.^* 

The Prsenomen denoted the individual, the Nomen 
marked the Gens, and the Cognomen distinguished the 
Familia, Thus in Publius Cornelius Scipio, Publius 
corresponded to our John, Thomas, William ; Cornelius 
pointed out the ^ clan^ or ' gens f and Scipio conveyed 
the information that the individual in question belonged 
to that particular family of the Cornelii which descended 
from the pious Scipio, who, from his practice of leading 
about his aged and blind father, thus figuratively be- 
came his scipio or stafP. 

Persons of the highest eminence, particularly military 
commanders, sometimes received a fourth name, or 
' Agnomen,^ often commemorative of conquests, and 
borrowed from the proper name of the hostile country, 
as Coriolanus, Africanus, Asiaticus, Germanicus, &c. 
In general, only two of the names were used — fre- 
quently but one. In addressing a person, the prseno- 
men was generally employed, since it was peculiar to 
citizens, for slaves had no pr^enomen.t Hence Horace 
says, " delicate ears love the praenomen^^ — 

gaudent praenomine moUes 

Auriculae. X 

Sat. ii. 5, 32. 

* Adam's Rom. Antiq. f Adam. 

X In Germany at the present day the lower ranks of society are re- 
minded of their inferiority, by having the definite article prefixed to their 


Two brothers sometimes bore tlie same prjjenomen. 
So in England^ some centuries since^ two brothers oc- 
casionally had the same Christian name ; and Salverte 
mentions an enthusiastic Scot^ a partizan of the fallen 
house of Stuart^ who gave four of his sons the name of 
Charles-Edward ! 

The Romans borrow^ed the form of their names from 
the older natives of Italy, and particularly from the 
Etruscans. In all those parts of Italy which the 
Greeks had not penetrated, the personages quoted in 
history anteriorly to the conquest of their country by 
the Homans bore family names, preceded or followed by 
an individual denomination ; and, among the Etruscans, 
it is clear from Passeri,* that there existed the nomen, 
prsenomen, and cognomen, as among the Homans, who 
adopted not only their mode of nomenclature, but also 
a great number of their names themselves. Passeri 
found the names of Horatius, Livius, Aulus, Marcus, 
Publius, Severus, and many of a similar kind in Etrus- 
can inscriptions. Hence the difficulty of finding a 
satisfactory etymology for many of the Roman appella- 
tives — words of venerable antiquity, of which those 
who bore them knew as little the meaning as ourselves-. 

It has been customary in nearly all ages to apply to 
monarchs some distinguisliing epithet, usually termed 
a Surname, although that word may be fairly objected 
to as tending to confusion, by leading the uninformed to 
suppose it an actual ^ nomen^ or hereditary designation. 
Tarquinius Superb us, at Kome, Ptolemy Philadelphos, 

Christian names : e. g. " Wo ist mein bedienter der Georg ?" Where is 
my valet the George ? — Salverte. In Scotland, on the other hand, the 
same prefix betokens respect, and is applied to the heads of clans, as ' the 
* Salv. i. 189. 


in Egyptj Henry the Fowler_, in Germany, William the 
Lion, in Scotland, Charles the Bald, in France, and our 
own Richard Coeur de Lion, may all have merited the 
appellations bestowed upon them ; but they partake 
more of the character of sobriquets than of surnames, in 
the modern meaning of the term. In most cases, too, 
they were posthumously applied. Speaking of this 
subject. Archdeacon Nares, the humorous author of 
^ Heraldic Anomalies,^ remarks : 

" There are some significant titles, names^ and attri- 
butes, to which I have no objection, as for instance, 
Alfred the Great, for great he was ; but as to Canute 
the Great I doubt : his speech to his courtiers on the 
sea-shore had certainly something sublime in it, and 
seems to bespeak the union of royalty and wisdom, but 
Voltaire will not allow that he was great in any other 
respect than that he performed great acts of cruelty. 
Edmund Iron-side, I suppose, was correct enough, if 
we did but understand the figure properly (for as to his 
really having an iron side, 1 conclude no one fancies it 
to have been so, though there is no answering for 
vulgar credulity). Harold Harefoot betokened, no 
doubt, a personal blemish or some extraordinary swift- 
ness of foot. Among the kings of Norway there was 
a Bare-foot ! William Rufus was probably quite cor- 
rect, as indicative of his red head of hair, or rather 
head of red hair. Henry the First was, I dare say, for 
those times, a Beau Clerc, or able scholar. Richard 
the First might very properly be called, by a figure of 
speech, Conur de Lion, and his brother John quite as 
properly, though to his shame literally, rather than 
figuratively. Lack-land. Edward Long-shanks cannot 
be disputed, since a sight was obtained of his body not 
very long ago, but at the least 467 years after his 


death, and which, from a letter in my possession, 
written by the President of the Antiquarian Society, 
who measured the body, appeared to be at that remote 
period six feet two inches long."* 

The same writer, speaking of the adjunct used by 
the Norman William, assigns to it the definition of 
Spelman, which differs from that in general accepta- 
tion : '^ Conquestor dicitur quia Anglia conquisivit, i. e. 
acquisivit (purchased) non quod subegit ; . . . here 
agreeing,^^ he humorously adds, ^^with the good old 
women who attended William^s birth, and who having 
quite a struggle with the new-born brat to get out of 
his clenched fist a parcel of straws he happened to 
catch hold of (his mother, perhaps, being literally in 
the st7'aw), made them say in the way of prophecy, that 
he would be a great acquirer." 

* Heraldic Anom. vol. i, p. 107. 



" Nous affirmerons que I'etude des noras propres n'est point sans interet 
pour la morale, I'organisation politique, la legislation, et I'histoire meme 
de la civilisation." — Salverte. 

N the present brief chapter it is my 
intention to refer to the usages of 
several modern nations in relation to 
second or family names_, usually desig- 
nated Surnames. A remark or two 
on the definition and etymology of that term may be 

Our great lexicographer, Dr. Johnson,, gives the 
definition as follows : 

^' Surname : The name of a family; the name which 

one has over and above the Christian name.'^ 
Until about the middle of the last century it was 
sometimes written ' SiRname.^ Whether this variation 
originated in the lax orthography of other times, or 
whether it was adopted to express a slight difference 
of meaning, I will not undertake to decide. Some 
writers have held the latter opinion, and defined ' Sir- 
name' as ^' nomen patris additum proprio/^ and ' Sur- 
name^ as " nomen supra nomen additum. '' Mac-Allan, 


Fitzlierhert, Ap Evan, and Stephenson would accordingly 
1)6 sir or ' sire^-names, equivalent to the son of Allan, 
of Herbert, of Evan, and of Stephen. 

Of ' >S^z^?"^-names, Du Cange says, they were at first 
written '' not in a direct line after the Christian name, 
but above it, between the lines /^ and hence they were 
called in Latin Supranomina^ in Italian Supranome, 
and in French Surnoms, — " over-names.^^ 

Those who contend for the non-identity of the two 
words, assert that although every Sir-name is a Sur- 
name, every Sur-name is not a Sir-name — -a question 
which I shall not tarry to discuss.* 

The causes which led to the adoption of family 
names in the different countries of Europe are ably 
stated by Salverte, and I may have occasion to refer 
to them hereafter. For our present purpose, it will be 
sufficient to observe that their adoption has generally 
marked the arrival of a people at a certain point in 
civilization. We have seen that all names were origi- 
nally single, and that second names were imposed for 
the sake of distinguishing from each other the persons 
who bore a common appellative. After the gradual 
conversion of the European states to the Christian faith, 
the old Pagan names were generally laid aside. New 
names, borrowed from Scripture or from early church 
history, were imposed at the baptism of the converts. 
In particular localities, of which some saint was sup- 
posed to have the peculiar guardianship, great numbers 
of persons received his or her name ; and great incon- 
venience must have been the result. When, in 1387, 
Ladislaus Jagellon, duke of Lithuania, became a Chris- 

* See on this subject the Literary Gazette for Nov. 1842, the corre- 
spondence of B. A. Oxon, and G., arising out of a notice of the first edition 
of this work. 


tian^ and king of Poland^ lie persuaded his ancient 
subjects to abjure^ after his own example^ their national 
faith. The nobles and the warriors were baptized 
separately ; but the plebeian candidates for the sacred 
rite were divided into many companies, and the priests 
conferred it at one time upon a whole company, and 
gave the same name to all the individuals composing 
that company. In the first baptism, all the men were 
designated Peter, and all the women Catherine ; in the 
second, all became Pauls and Margarets !* 

In the countries into which Christianity had been 
introduced many centuries earlier than the event just 
referred to, that civihzation which is ever the conco- 
mitant or the consequence of it had rendered second 
names to a great extent necessary. In very early times, 
accordingly, sobriquets and other marks of distinction 
were frequently used ; and towards the close of the 
tenth century and the commencement of the eleventh, 
when the number of persons bore a great disproportion 
to the number of personal names, it was found neces- 
sary to add in all public acts a distinctive appellation 
for the sake of identifying individuals. Such names 
figure in great numbers in the records of all the king- 
doms of Christendom up to the fourteenth centurj^t 
By degrees, this means of remedying the confusion be- 
came insufficient. Those sobriquets which described 
physical and moral qualities, habits, professions, the place 
of birth, &c., might be imposed upon many who bore 
the same name of baptism, and thus the inconvenience 
was rather augmented than diminished : a total change 
in the system of names became indispensable — and 
hereditary Surnames in most countries became general. 

* Salv. i. 223. t Salvcrte. 


We have seen that the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans 
in very early periods used the j^atronymic or Father- 
Name as a second designation, either with an appro- 
priate termination or with some prefix expressive of the 
filial relation. This has also been the practice of many 
modern nations. Thus in Spain, in the twelfth century, 
the son of Gonyale, who is regarded as the founder of 
the principality of Castile, was called Fernand Gonyalez, 
and his son^ in turn, received the name of Garcia 

The Highlanders of Scotland employed the sire- 
name with Mac, and hence our Macdonalds and 
Macartys, meaning respectively the son of Donald and 
of Arthur. The Irish had the practice (probably de- 
rived from the patriarchal ages) of prefixing Oy or O', 
signifying grandson,^ as O^Hara, O'Neale ; a form still 
retained in many Hibernian surnames. Many of the 
Irish also use Mac. According to the following distich, 
the titles Mac and 0' are not merely what the logicians 
call accidents, but altogether essential to the very being 
and substance of an Irishman : — 

" Per Mac atque 0, tu veros cognoscis Hibernos, 
His duobus demptis, nullus Hibernus adest." 

which has been translated — 

" By Mac and 0, 
You'll always know 

True Irishmen they say ; 
For if they lack 
Both and Mac, 

No Irishmen are they."t 

* It is related in the Encyclopaedia Perthensis that an antiquated Scot- 
tish dame used to make it a matter of boasting that she had trod the 
world's stage long enough to possess one hundred Oijes ! 

t Notes of a Bookworm. 


Among the archives of the corporation of Galway is 
an order dated 1518, prohibiting any of the Burkes, 
Mc Williams, Kelly s, or any other sept, from coming 
into the town, which at that time was occupied by a 
race who prided themselves in not being Irishmen, and 
further declaring that " neither O ne Mac shoulde 
strutte ne swagger through the streetes of Galway/^* 

The old Normans prefixed to their names the word 
' FitZj' a corruption of Fils, and that derived from the 
Latin Filius; ^s Fitz-Hamo7i, Fitz-Gilbe7^t. The pea- 
santry of Russia, who are some centuries behind the 
same class in other countries, affix the termination 
' wiTZ^ (which seems to have some affinity to the 
Norman Fitz) to their names ; thus, Peter Pauloivitz, 
for Peter the son of Paul. The Poles employ sky in 
the same sense, as James Petrowsky, James the son of 
Peter; and the Biscayans adopt a similar method. t 

Until a comparatively recent period no surnominal 
adjunct was used in Wales, beyond ap, or son, as 
David ap HoweU, Evan ap Rhys, Griffith ap Roger , 
John ap Richard, now very naturally corrupted into 
Powell, Price, Prodger, and Pritchard. To a like origin 
may be referred a considerable number of the surnames 
beginning with P and B now in use in England, 
amongst which may be mentioned Price, Pumphrey , 
Parry, Probert, Prohyn, Pugh, Penry; Bevan, Bithell, 
Barry, Benyon, and Bowers. A more antient form 
than AP is hab. This or vap constantly occurs in 
charters of the time of Henry the Sixth. It was not 

* Hardiman's Galway, quoted in the Journal of the Brit. Arch. Assoc, 
vol. i, p. 98. 

t The most singular deviation from the general rule is found among the 
Arabians, who use their father's name without a fore-name, as Aven Pace, 
Aven Rois, the son of Pace, the son of Rois. 


unusual even but a century back, to hear of sucb com- 
binations as Evan-ap-Griffith-ap-David-ap-Jenkin, and 
so on to the seventh or eighth generation, so that an 
individual carried his pedigree in his name. The fol- 
lowing curious description of a Welshman occurs 15 
Hen. VII : " Morgano Philip alias dicto Morgano vap 
David vap Philip.^' The church of Llangollen in Wales 
is said to be dedicated to St. Collen-ap-Gwynnawg-ap- 
Clyndawg-ap-Cowrda-ap-Caradoc-Freichfras-ap - Llynn- 
Merim-ap-Einion-Yrth-ap-Cunedda-Wledig,* a name 
that casts that of the Dutchman, Inkvervankodsdor- 
spanckinkadrachdern, into the shade. 

To burlesque this ridiculous species of nomenclature, 
some seventeenth-century wag described cheese as being 

** Adam's own cousin-germ an by its birth, 
Ap-Curds-ap-Milk-ap-Cow-ap-Grass-ap-Eartli !" 

The following anecdote was related to me by a na- 
tive of A¥ales : ^^ An Englishman, riding one dark 
night among the mountains, heard a cry of distress^ 
proceeding apparently from a man who had fallen into 
a ravine near the highway, and, on listening more at- 
tentively, heard the words, ^ Help, master, help !' in a 
voice truly Cambrian. ^ Help ! what, who are you?' 
inquired the traveller. Jenkin-ap-Griffith-ap-Robin- 
ap-William-ap-Rees-ap-Evan,'' was the response. ^ Lazy 
fellows that ye be,' rejoined the Englishman, setting 
spurs to his horse, ^to lie rolling in that hole, half a 
dozen of ye ; why, in the name of common sense, don't 
ye help one another out ?' " 

This story may have been suggested by a passage 
occurring in ^ Sir John Oldcastle,' a play, printed in 
1600, and falsely attributed to Shakspeare : 

* Recreative Review, vol. ii. p. 189. 


Judge. "What bail ? What sureties ? 

Davy. Her cozen ap Rice, ap Evan, ap Morice, ap Morgan, ap Lluellyn, 
ap Madoc, ap Meredith, ap Griffin, ap Davis, ap Owen, ap Shinkin Jones. 
Judge. Two of the most sufficient are enow, 
Sheriff. And't please your Lordship, these are all but one !" 

In England, when the patronymic was used, the 
word son was usually affixed, as John Adam^o^z ; in 
Wales, on the contraiy, although the staple of the 
national nomenclature was of this kind, no affix was 
used, but the paternal name was put in the genitive, 
as Griffith William^s, David John^s or Jones, Rees 
Harry's or Harris. As the personal \i2imQ^ were few in 
number, when they became hereditary surnames they 
were common to so many families, that they were 
almost useless for the purposes of generic distinction, 
and this still remains to a great extent the case. A 
friend, who remembers the Monmouth and Brecon 
militia about half a century since, informs me that it 
had at that time no less than thirty- six John Joneses 
upon its muster-roll ; and it was at a somewhat later 
period a matter of notoriety that a large Welsh village 
was, with the exception of some two or three indivi- 
duals, entirely populated with Williamses. 

Even the gentry of Wales bore no hereditary sur- 
names until the time of Henry the Eighth. That 
monarch, who paid great attention to heraldric matters, 
strongly recommended the heads of Welsh families to 
conform to the usage long before adopted by the 
English, as more consistent with their rank and dignity. 
Some families accordingly made their existing 5i?*enames 
stationary, while a few adopted the surnames of English 
families with whom they were allied, as the ancestors 
of Oliver Cromwell, who thus exchanged WilHams 


for Cromwell, wliich thenceforward they uniformly 

Having thus glanced at the usages of various nations 
with respect to second names, let us next trace the 
history of family names in England. 

* Vide Noble's House of Cromwell. Other authentic instances of the 
adoption of stationary surnames hy great families may be found by refer- 
ring to the following works : 

{Williams of Abercaralais.) Jones's Brecon, iii. 696. 

{Herbert, Lord of Blealevenny.) Mon. Aug. 17, 134. 

{Herbert of Llanowell.) Coxe's Monmouth, 421. 
It may be observed that several Norman families who settled in Wales, 
left their original surnames, and conformed to the mode of the country ; 
thus the Boleyns took the name of Williams. 



LTHOUGH our ancestors the Anglo- 
Saxons had no regular system of familj^ 
nomenclature resembling that of the 
Romans, or that which we now possess, 
there was occasionally among them 
something like an attempt to show derivation and family 
relationships by the use of similar personal names. 
"In one family/^ observes Mr. Kemble, (to whose able 
paper I am much indebted,) t "we shall find in suc- 
cession or simultaneously, Wigmund, Wighelm, Wiglaf, 
Wihstan ; or Beornric, Beornmod, Beornheah, Beorn- 

Among several other instances of this practice cited 
by Mr. Kemble are the following : " Of the seven sons 
of ^thelfrith, king of Northumberland, five bore names 
compounded with Os {semideus), thus Oslaf, Oslac, 
Oswald, Oswin, and Oswidu. In the succession of the 
same royal family we find the male names, Osfrith, 
Oswine, Osric, Osraed, Oswulf, Osbald, and Osbeorht, 
and the female name, Osthryth ; and some of these arc 
repeated several times. 

* The word surname is here employed in a somewhat loose sense, im- 
plying in general nothing more than the name borne by an individual, to 
distinguish him from other persons of the same forename or name of 

t On the Names, Surnames, and Nicknames of the Anglo-Saxons. By 
J. M. Kemble, Esq. 8vo. pp. 22, 1846. 



The subjoined genealogical table shows how strongly 
this practice was adhered to by the illustrious progeny 
of Alfred the Great. 


Eadweard the Elder=Eadgyfu. 

Eadwine. Eadmiind I. 

Eadwig (king.) 

Eadweard. Eadgvth. 



Eadred (king.) Eadljurli. 

Eadgar (king.) 







Eadgar-iEtheling (the Unfortunate.) 

The second narnes treated of by Mr. Kemble may be 
reduced to five general heads. 

I, Those borrowed from the father's name. '' In the 
year 804,, we find, among several Eadberhts in the 
same court, that one is pointed out as Eadgaring, or 
the son of Eadgar ; among several ^thelheahs, one is 


Esning, or the son of Esne/' In a certain grant we 
read this description of one — 

" qui Leofwine nomine et Boudan sunu appellatur cognomine." 

' whose name is Leofwine, and his surname Boudanson.^ 
In a genealogy of the West-Saxon kings, among 
the Cotton MSS., we find — ''^Eadgar Eadmundm^, 
Eadmimd Eadwardi/?^, Eadweard MlhQdiing, Alfred 
KwoMing/' &c. upwards, through Woden to " Bedwig 
Scesifin(//' ' which Scef was Noah^s son/ and thence to 

Ing, inge, or inger, we may remark, is found in the 
sense of ' progeny' or ' oflPspring/ in most of the Teu- 
tonic languages. Ing, in modern German, is a young 
man, but in a more extended sense signifies a de- 
scendant. Wachter derives it from the British engi, 
to produce, bring forth, t Such names as Bering, 
Browning, Whiting, may owe their origin to this ex- 
pression, and so mean respectively dear, tawny, and 
fair offspring. 

II. Those indicative of title or office, as Princeps, 
Dux, Minister, or Pedissequus, in Latin records, and 
Pren (priest), Biscojj (bishop) in the vernacular. 

III. Those from personal and other characteristics. 
Bede, speaking of the two missionary apostles of the 
old Saxons, says — 

" And as they were both of one devotion, so they both had one name, 
for each of them was called Hewald, yet with this distinction, taken from 
the colour of their hair, that one was styled Black Hewald, and the other 
White Hewald." 

White, Black, Bed, Bald, &c. were common as 
second or descriptive names, as were also Good, Cun- 
ning, Proud, &c. 

* Reliquiae Anticiiuo, ii. 172. f Vide Bosworth, A.-S. Diet. 


In tlie Life of Ilereward the Saxon, one of the last 
of his race who withstood the Norm an despots, we find 
several such names as — 

Martin with the Light Foot, from his agility.* 

SiWARD THE Red, from his complexion. 

Leoeric THE Mower, from his having overcome 
twenty men with a scythe. 

Leofric Prat, or the cunning. 

WuLRic THE Black, so named because on one oc- 
casion he had blackened his face with charcoal, and in 
that disguise penetrated unobserved among his enemies, 
ten of whom he killed with a spear before making his 
retreat, t 

Some of the names of this class were somewhat 
poetical, as Harald Haranfot (Harefoot), Eadgyfu 
Swanhals (Edith the Swan-Necked), Eadmund Iren- 
sida (Ironside). 

IV. Nicknames '^ not used w^ith, but in place of, 
baptismal names." Several of these denote endear- 
ment and affection, and are equivalent to the modern 
English expressions ^ Darling/ *" Duck,^ &c. The mean- 
ing of others is so very obscure, as even to conquer the 
acumen of Mr. Kemble. Simeon of Durham, under 
the year 799, says — 

" Eodem anno Brorda Merciorum princepr,, qui et Hildegils vocatur, 
defunctus est." 

Now Hildegils, it appears, was the baptismal name 
of the magnate, and Brorda only an alias or nickname, 
which had usurped its place, in consequence of the 
military prowess of the bearer, Brorda meaning ^ One 
that hath the Sword^ — a name belonging to the same 

* Lightfoot still exists as a surname. 

t Wright's Essays on the Literature, &c. of the Middle Ages, ii, 101, &c. 


category as the Longespee and Strongbow of more 
recent times. Another eminent Anglo-Saxon, distin- 
guished alike for greatness of stature and elevated 
qualities of mind, bore the sobriquet of Mucel or 
^ Great/ which he employed in a legal way, as " Ego 
Mucel, dux, consensi, &c/^ His baptismal name was 
^thelred, and had he lived some ages later, he would 
probably have been known as Ethelred Michel, in the 
same way that the Norman Gilbert de Aquila, after the 
Conquest of 1066, was designated by this very epithet 
in conjunction with his baptismal name. 

V. Those taken from the place of residence, with the 
particle cet or at, as ^Eadmser aet Burhham/ 

The precise period at which such second names as 
those above enumerated first became stationary, or, in 
other words, began to descend hereditarily, it would at 
this distance of time be impossible to show. It is 
probable, however, that some of them passed through 
several generations, according to the practice of our 
own times, at a date considerably earlier than our 
antiquaries are disposed to admit. This remark would 
peculiarly apply to those of the fifth or local class, 
since the son, then as now, often became proprietor of 
the same estate as that from which his father borrowed 
his second name ; and it would, I think, be unreason- 
able to decide that surnames of the first or patrony- 
mical kind, such as Herdingson, Swainson,* Cerdicson, 
did not pass occasionally from father to son, as well as 

* This name is probal)ly Danish. In the Confessor's time it was written 
Sweynsen, l)ut niuler the Normans it became Fitz-Sivain, and, ultimately, 
in more English times, Sivainmn. ' Swain Fitz Swain' occurs in Norman 
times as the grantor, to Sallay abbey in Ribblesdale, of lands at * Swain- 

I. 2 


our more recent Thompson and Williamson. Camden 
and others concur in the opinion that hereditary sur- 
names were not known in England before the Norman 
Conquest ; yet I hope I shall not be deemed guilty of 
presumption if, by and by, I offer a few suggestions 
in support of the opinion that they were not altogether 
unknown before that epoch. 

Camden says, " about the year of our Lord 1000, 
(that we may not minute out the time) surnames be- 
came to be taken up in France ; and in England about 
the time of the Conquest, or else a very little before, 
vnder King Edward the Confessor, who was all Frenchi- 
fied This will seem strange to some English- 
men and Scottishmen, whiclie, like the Arcadians, 
thinke their surnames as antient as the moone, or at 
the least to reach many an age beyond the Conquest.* 
But they which thinke it most strange, (I speake vnder 
correction,) I doubt they will hardly finde any surname 
which descended to posterity before that time : neither 
haue they scene (I feare) any deede or donation before 
THE Conquest, but subsigned with crosses and single 
names without surnames, in this manner : ^ Ego 
Eadredus confirmaui. ^ Ego Edmundus corroboraui. 
^ Ego Sigarius conclusi. ^ Ego Olfstanus consoli- 
daui, &c. 

Our great antiquary declares that both he and divers 
of his friends had '* pored and pusled vpon many an 
old record and evidence^^ for the purpose of finding 
hereditary surnames before the Conquest, without suc- 

* Buchanan asserts that the family of Douglas have borne that name 
from the reign of Solvathius, king of Scotland, the year 770 ; and that one 
Sir William Douglas of Scotland entered into the service of Charlemagne. 
He settled in Tuscany, and was the great ancestor of the Douglasii of that 


cess ; what then would he have said to a document 
like the following, containing the substance of a grant 
from Thorold of Buckenhale, sheriff of Lincolnshire, of 
the manor of Spalding, to Wulgate, abbot of Croyland, 
dated 1051, the 10th year of Edward the Confessor, 
and fifteen years before the Conquest ? 

'^ I have given to God and St. Guthlac of Croyland_, 
&c. all my manor situate near the parochial church of 
the same town, with all the lands and tenements, rents 
and services, &c. which I hold in the same manor, &c. 
with all the appendants ; viz. Colgrin, my reeve, (prse- 
positum meum,) and his whole sequell, with all the 
goods and chattels which he hath in the same town, 
fields and marshes. Also Harding, the smith, (fabrum,) 
and his whole sequell. Also Lefstan, the carpenter, 
(carpentarium,) and his whole sequell, &c. Also 
Ryngulf the first, (primum,) and his whole sequell, 
&c. Also Elstan the fisherman, (piscatorem,) and his 
whole sequell, &c. Also Gunter Liniet, and his 
whole sequell, &c. Also Onty Grimkelson, &c. 
Also TuRSTAN DuBBE, &c. Also Algar, the black, 
(nigrum,) &c. Also Edric, the son of Skvard, (filium 
Siwardi,) &c. Also Osmund, tJie miller, (molendina- 
rium,) &c. Also Besi Tuk, &c. Also Elmer de 
PiNCEBECK, &c. Also GousE Gamelson, &c." — witli 
the same clauses to each as before.* 

Now while the terms reeve, smith, carpenter, the 
first, fisher, the black, miller, &c. applied respectively 
to Colgrin, Harding, Lefstan, &c are merely personal 
descriptions ; Liniet, Dubbe, Tuk, and de Pincebeck, 
have the appearance of settled surnames. The same dis- 
tinction is observable between ' Edric, the son of Siivard,' 
and Grtmkelson and Gamelson. Indeed some of 

* See the entire deed in Cough's History of Croyland Abbey. (App. p. 29.) 


these surnames are 3^et remaining amongst us, as 
Dubbe, Tuk^ Liniet, and Pincebeck — now spelt Dubb, 
Tuck, Linney, and Pinchbeck, a fact which I think 
goes far to prove that they were hereditary at the 
time when the deed of gift above recited was made. 

This document is also opposed to another opinion 
prevalent among antiquaries, namely, that surnames 
were assumed by the nobles long before the commonalty 
took them. Here we see that the bondmen or churls 
of the Lincolnshire sheriff used them at a period when 
many of the landed proprietors had no other designa- 
tion than a Christian name. 

A great many surnames occur in Domesday book ; 
(Camden says, they first occur there.) Some of these 
are local, as De Grey, de Vernon, d'Oily; some pa- 
TRONYMiCAL, as E-ichardus filius Gisleberti ; and others 
OFFICIAL cr PROFESSIONAL, as Guliclmus Camerarius, 
(the chamberlain,) Radulphus Venator, (the hunter,) 
Gislebertus Cocus, (the cook,) &c. &c. " But ver}^ 
many,^^ as Camden remarks, " (occur) with their 
Christian names only, as Olajf, Nigellus, Eustachius, 
Baldricus.'' It is to be observed, that those with 
single names are " noted last in every shire, as men of 
least account/^ and as sub-tenants. Here a query 
arises. Are we to conclude that because many names 
are given in the single form, that the individuals to 
whom they belonged had only one? I think not ; and 
notwithstanding all that Camden and others assert on 
the subject, I am strongly of opinion that hereditary 
surnames were sometimes used before the Conquest. 

Camden^s remark, that these single-named persons 
come ^Hast in every shire,^'' strengthens my supposition. 
It is probable that their inferiority of rank was the 
cause of the non-insertion of the second, or sur-name. 


We must not forget that many of these '' men of least 
account/^ were of the conquered Saxon race, who 
would be treated with as little ceremony in their 
names as in anything else. Do not modern usages with 
respect to the nomenclature of inferiors support this 
idea? We rarely speak of our superiors without the 
double or triple designation : Lord So-and-So, Sir John 
Such-a-one, or Mr, T Ids -or -That, while the single 
names Smith, Brown, Jones, and Robinson, suffice for 
persons of lower grade. I will venture to say that one 
half of the masters and mistresses of houses in large 
towns do not even know more than one of the two 
names borne by their servants, some accustoming them- 
selves to command them exclusively by their Christian 
names, others as exclusively using their Surnames. I 
know that many of my readers will regard all this as 
inconclusive gossip, but having hazarded an opinion, I 
am unwilling to leave anything unsaid that could be 
said in support of it. 

The manors of Ripe and Newtimber, in Sussex, are 
mentioned in Domesday as having been, before the 
Conquest, the estates, respectively, of Cane and jElfech. 
Now these names are still found in the county as sur- 
names ; the former under its antient orthography, and 
the latter under that of Elphick ; but were these ever 
used as Christian names ? ^Ifech may be the same 
with Alphage, a Saxon fore-name ; but Cane was cer- 
tainly never so used. By the way, it is an extraordi- 
nary fact that the name of Cane is still borne by two 
respectable farmers at Ripe, in which neighbourhood, I 
have scarcely a doubt, their ancestors, all bearing the 
same monosyllabic designation, have dwelt from the days 
of the Confessor : an honour whicli few of the mighty 
and noble of this land can boast ! 


My. Grimaldi, in liis ' Origines Genealogicse/ speak- 
ing of the WiNTON Domesday, a survey of the lands 
belonging to Edward the Confessor, made on the oath 
of eighty- six burgesses of Winchester, in the reign of 
Henr}'' I, says : " The most remarkable circumstance 
in this book is the quantity of Smmames among the 
tenants of Edward, as Alwinus Idessone, Edwinus 
Godeswale, Bruraanus de la Forda, Leuret de Essewem, 
which occur in the first page. 

It would however be preposterous to assert that sur- 
names universally prevailed so early as the eleventh 
century : we have overwhelming evidence that they did 
not ; and must admit that although the Norman Con- 
quest did much to introduce the practice of using them, 
it was long before they became very common. All I 
am anxious to establish is, that the occasional use of 
family names in England dates beyond the ingress of the 




HATEVER may be advanced in favour of 
an earlier adoption of family designa- 
tions or Surnames in particular cases^ it 
is certain that the practice of making 
the second name of an individual sta- 
tionary, and transmitting it to descendants, came gra- 
dually into common use during the eleventh and three 
following centuries. By the middle of the twelfth it 
began, in the estimation of some, to be essential that 
persons of rank should bear some designation in addition 
to the baptismal name. We have an instance of this in 
the wealthy heiress of the powerful Baron Fitz-Hamon^s 
making the want of a surname in Robert, natural son 
of King Henry the First, an objection to his marriage 
with her. The lady is represented as saying : 

\i iocit to me great £;][)ame, 

Co i)abe a lovtJ lutt!)outeit ^\^ tba name!* 

when the monarch, to remedy the defect, gave him the 
surname of Fit z -Roy ; a designation which has been 
given at several subsequent periods to the illegitimate 
progeny of our kings. 

* Robert of Gloucester. This will remind the reader of Juvenal — 
" tanquam habeas tria nomina." v. 127. 


The unsettled state of surnames in those early times 
renders it a difficult matter to trace the pedigree of any 
family beyond the thirteenth century. In Cheshire, a 
county remarkable for the number of its resident fami- 
lies of great antiquitj^ it was very usual for younger 
branches of a family, laying aside the name of their 
father, to take their name from the place of their re- 
sidence, and thus in three descents as many surnames 
are found in the same family. This remark may be 
forcibly illustrated by reference to the early pedigree of 
the family of Fitz-Hugh, which name did not settle 
down as a fixed appellative until the time of Edward III. 
Thus we read in succession — 


Akaris Fitz-Bardolph, 

Hervey Fitz-Akaris, 

Henry Fitz- Hervey, 

Randolph Fitz- Henry, 

Henry Fitz -Randolph, 

Randolph Fitz-Henry, 

Hugh Fitz-Randolph, 

Henry Fitz-Hugh, 
which last was created a baron, assuming that name as 
his title, and giving it permanence as a family appella- 
tive.* When there were several sons in one family, 
instances are found where each brother assumed a dif- 
ferent surname. Hence the great difficulty in tracing 
the pedigrees of families in those early times. 

It has been asserted that an act of parliament was 
passed in the reign of Edward the Second for enforcing 
the practice of using family names ; but it seems more 
probable that necessity led the common people to adopt 
them. Before the Conquest there was much greater 

* Halle of John Halle, i, 10. 


variety in the baptismal names than at present, though, 
as we have seen, the Anglo-Saxons were frequently 
driven to the adoption of second names for the identi- 
fication of individuals. The ingress of the Normans 
introduced the use of Scripture names, and the Saxon 
names for the most part became obsolete after a cen- 
tury or two_, while the Johns, Jameses, Thomases, and 
Peters became so numerous, that Surnames were indis- 
pensable. In the thirteenth century it is probable that 
most persons of ignoble rank bore a sobriquet instead 
of the Christian name. For example, in the Household 
Expenses of Eleanor, Countess of Montfort, 1265, all 
the menials in her service bear designations such as 
were never conferred at the font : e. g. Hand was her 
baker, Hicque her tailor, and Dobbe her shepherd. 
Her carriers or messengers were Diquon, Gobithestyj 
Treubodi, and Slifigaivai!^ 

Two or three generations later, the commonalty were 
generally distinguished by names like the following, 
taken principally from the luquisitiones Nonarum^ 
1310, (13 Edw. in.) 

Johes over the Water 

William at Byshope Gate 

Johes o^ the S hep ho use 

Johes qMam salens Rog. Leneydeyman 

Johes vicarii eccl. Ste Nich, 

Agnes, the Pr'sts sisterf 

Johes at the Castle Gate 

Johes in the Lane 

Thom in Thelane 

Johes at See 

Rog' atte Wodegatehousc 

Thorn' le Fytheler 

* lilaauw's Barons' \Var. f Clent. Mag-, June 1821. 


Joli' ate Mouse 
Jolies le Taillour 
Jolies up the Pende 
Petr' atte the Bell 
Johes of the Gutter 
Thomas in the Willows 
Steph^ de Portico 
William of London-bridge. 

About this time (to speak generally) the surnames 
of the middle and lower ranks began to descend from 
father to son ; but even at the commencement of the 
fifteenth century there was much confusion in family 
names. Sometimes, indeed, the same person bore dif- 
ferent surnames at diflPerent periods. Thus, a person 
who in 1406 describes himself as William, the son of 
Adam Emmotson, calls himself, in 1416, William 
Emmotson. Another person who is designated John, 
the son of William, the son of John de Hunshelf, ap- 
pears soon after as John Wilson. Other names, such as 
Willielmus - Johnson -AVilkinson, Wilhelmus-Adamson, 
Magotson, and Thomas-Henson-Magot, prevail about 
this period.^' In the Battel Abbey Deeds the names 
John Hervy, John Fitz-Hervie de Sudwerk, and John 
de London are given to one and the same person. 

The following names from the same source occur in 
this and the preceding centuries, and it may be ob- 
served, en 2^(^ssant, that they were borne not by the 
lowest of the vulgar, but by persons who either gave 
possessions to the Abl)ey, or witnessed the deeds by 
which such gifts were made. 

* Penny Cyclopaedia. 


Henry le Assedrumere (Ass-drummer !) 

Edelina Husewyf, late wife of Thomas Pet. 

Walter le Boeuf (the bullock). 

Peter le Cuckou. 

John God-me-fetch ! 

Reginald de la Chambre or De Camera. 

William at Bachuse. 

Richard Havedman (qu. headsman?). 

Bartholomew le Swan. 

Coke Crul. Crul is an archaism for ' curled' or 
^ crooked/ and^ presuming that the personal name and 
the sur-name have been transposed, may mean 'the 
deformed cook V 

Vitellius Curtius. This may be a latinization of 
Vital Curteis. 

Ralph Yvegod. 

Giles Smith_, son of Luke de Swineham. 

Thomas Gadregod (Gathergood). 

Roger le Bunch. 

Margery Domesday. 

Richard Grym, called Trend. 

John Couper, son of William atte AVater. 

The following address to the populace, at the begin- 
ning of one of the Covent7^y Mysteries, serves to illus- 
trate the state in which the family nomenclature of the 
humbler classes stood in the fifteenth century : 

" 1| A voyd sers ! And lete me lord the bischop come 
And syt in the court, the laws for to doo ; 
And I schal gon in this place, them for to somowne ; 

The that ben in my book, the court ye must come to. 

% I warne you her', all abowte, 
That I somown you, all the rowte, 
Loke ye fayl, for no dowte, 

At the court to " per" (appear). 


Both John Jurdon' and Geffrey Gyle 
Malkyn Mylkedoke and fayre Mabyle, 
Stevyn Sturdy, and Jack-AT-XHE Style, 
And Sawdyr Sadeler. 

^ Thora Tynker' and Betrys Belle 
Peyrs Potter, and Whatt-AT-THE-WELLE, 
Symme Smal-feyth, and Kate Kelle, 

And Bertylmew the Bocher (butcher). 

Kytt Cakeler, and Colett Crane, 

Gylle Fetyse and fayr Jane 

Powle Powter', and P[ar]nel Prane, 

And Phelypp the good Fleccher. 

^ Cok Crane, and Davy Dry-dust 
Luce Lyer, and Letyce Lytyl-Trust, 
Miles the Miller, and Colle Crake-crust 

Both Bette the Baker, and Robyn Rede. 

And LOKE ye rynge wele in yowr purs 
For ellys yowr cawse may spede the wurs, 
Thow that ye slynge goddys curs, 
Evy[n] at my hede. 

^ Both BoNTYNG the Browster, and Sybyly Slynge, 
Megge Mery-wedyr, and Sabyn Sprynge 
Tyftany Twynkeler ffayle for no thynge, 

Ffast co' a way 
The courte shall be this day." 

In (ILotkt %OVtllt*^ 330tt, a satirical poem im- 
printed by Wynkyn de Worde^ there is a similar rig- 
marole of names : 

" The pardoner sayd I will rede my roll, 
And ye shall here the names poll by poll. 

lie * * * 

Pers Potter of brydge water, 

Saunder Sely the mustard maker, 

AVith Jelyan Jangeler. 

Here is Jenkyne Berwarde of Barwycke, 

And Tom Tombler of warwyke, 

With Phylypp Fletcher of ffernam, 

Here is Wyll Wyly the myl pecker, 


And Patrycke Pevysshe heerbeter, 
With lusty Hary Hange man. 
Also Mathewe Tothe drawer of London, 
And Sybby Sole mylke wyfe of Islyngton 

With Davy Drawelache of rockyngame. 

* * * * 

Also Hycke Crokenec the rope maker, 
And Steven Mesyll-mouthe muskyll taker 
With Jacke Basket-seler of alwelay, 
Here is George of Podyng lane Carpenter, 
And Patrycke Pevysshe a conynge dyrte-dauber, 
Worshypfull wardayn of Sloven's In ; 
There is Martyn Peke small fremason, 
And Pers Peuterer that knocketh a basyn, 
With GoGLE-EYED ToMSON shepster of lyn," 

&c. &c. &c. 

That many persons in the fifteenth century carried 
on the trades from which either themselves or their 
ancestors had borrowed their family names, is proved 
by reference to various contemporary documents. The 
following entries were found by Mr. Thomas Wright 
among the municipal records of Southampton : 

" Item, payd to Davy Berebrewere for a pyp of here that was dronke at 
the Barrgate, when the ffurst affray was of the ffrensheraen, vi. viij." 

" Item, payd to Sawndere Lokyere for the makyng of a band and ij 
boltes and cheyns, and viij fforlokkes to the gone [gun] that standeth in 
Godeshows yeate, xijc?." 


Hereditary surnames can scarcely be said to have 
been permanently settled among the lower and middle 
classes before the era of the Reformation. The intro- 
duction of parish registers was probably more instru- 
mental than anything else in settling them ; for if a 
person were entered under one surname at baptism, it 
is not likely that he would be married under another, 
and buried under a third. Exceptions to a generally 
established rule, however, occurred in some places. The 


Rev. Mark Noble affirms that "it was late in the seven- 
teenth century that many families in Yorkshire^ even of 
the more opulent sort, took stationary names. Still later, 
about Halifax, surnames became in their dialect genea- 
logicab as William a Bills, a Toms, a Luke.^ 

In the south of England the same irregularity pre- 
vailed to some extent. In the will of one Rafe Willard, 
of Ifield, Sussex, dated 1617, I find several persons in 
the household of the great family of Covert of Slaugham 
thus loosely described : " Item, I give unto Mr. 
Ffettyplace * * * unto John white, unto Harry [the] 
post, unto James Jorden, unto Leonard the Huntsman, 
unto Christopher the Footman, and to olde Rycharde 
Davye the porter, to each and every of them ten shil- 
lings a peece.''^t 

In Scotland, designations were equally loose, down 
to the times of James V. and Mary. Buchanan men- 
tions, that he has seen deeds of that date "most confused 
and unexact in designations of persons inserted therein,^^ 
parties being described as "John, son of black William,^^ 
" Thomas, son of long or tall Donald,^^ &c. Even so 
late as 1723, there were two gentlemen of Sir Donald 
Mac Donald's family, who bore no other name than 
Donald Gorm, or Blue Donald. { 

* Hist. Coll. Arms, Introd, p. 29. I am informed that this sort of 
nomenclature still prevails among the humhler classes in some parts of 
Westmoreland and Cmuberland. 

t Regist. of Wills at Lewes. 

X Scottish Surnames, p. 18. Such epithets were sometimes called 
To-Names. " They call my kinsman ' Ludovic with the Scar,' " said 
Quentin. Our family names are so common in a Scottish house, that, 
where there is no land in the house we always give a to-name." " A nom 
de guerre, I suppose you mean," answered his companion, " and the man 
you speak of, we, I think, call Le Balafre, from that scar on his face, a 
proper man, and a good soldier." {Quentin Durward, vol. i. 53.) 


On the remark of Tyrwhitt, in his edition of Chaucer, 
that it is ^^ probable that the use of surnames was not 
in Chaucer/s time fully established among the lower 
class of people/^ a more recent editor of the same poet 
says, ^^ Why, the truth is, that they are not no%Vj even 
in the nineteenth century, fully established in some 
parts of England. There are very few, for instance, of 
the miners of Staffordshire who bear the names of their 
fathers. The Editor knows a pig-dealer, whose father^s 
name was Johnson, but the people call him Pigman, and 
Pigman he calls himself. This name may be now seen 
over the door of a public-house which this man keeps in 

But this is nothing to the practice of bearing a 
double set of names, which, we are assured, prevails 
among these colliers. Thus a man may at the same 
time bear the names of John Smith and Thomas Jones, 
without any sinister intention ; but it must not be 
imagined that such regular names are in common use. 
These are a kind of best names, which, like their Sunday 
clothes, they only use on high-days and holidays, as at 
christenings and marriages. For every-day purposes 
they use no appellative, except a nickname, as Nosey, 
Soiden-mouth,^- Soaker, or some such elegant desig- 
nation ; and this is employed, not by their neighbours 
alone, but by their wives and children, and even by 
themselves ! A correspondent of Knight^s Quarterly 
Magazine,t who is my authority for these statements, 
saj^s, '^I knew an apothecary in the collieries, who, as 
a matter of decorum, alwaj^s entered the real names of 
his patients in his books ; that is, when he could ascer- 
tain them. But they stood there only for ornament; 
for use he found it necessary to append the sobriquet, 

* With the nioulli awry. f Voh i. p. 297 ct scq. 


whicli lie did witli true medical formality, as, for in- 
stance, ^ Thomas Williams, vulgo diet., Old Puff/ 
. . . Clergymen have been known to send home a 
■wedding party in despair, after a vain essay to gain from 
the bride and bridegroom a sound by way of name, 
which any known alphabet had the power of committing 
to paper V^ A story is told of an attorney's clerk who 
was professionally employed to serve a process on one 
of these oddly-named persons, whose real name was en- 
tered in the instrument with legal accuracy. The clerk, 
after a great deal of inquiry as to the whereabouts of 
the party, was about to abandon the search as hopeless, 
when a young woman, who had witnessed his labours, 
kindly volunteered to assist him. 

" Oy say, Bullyed,'' cried she, to the first person they 
met, '' does thee know a mon neamed Adam Green?'' 

The bull-head was shaken in token of ignorance. 

^^ Loy-a-bed, dost thee ?" 

Lie-a-bed's opportunities of making acquaintance 
had been rather limited, and she could not resolve the 

Stumpy (a man with a wooden leg), Coivskm, Spin- 
dleshanks. Cockeye, and Pigtail were severally invoked, 
but in vain ; and the querist fell into a brown study, in 
which she remained for some time. At length, however, 
her eyes suddenly brightened, and slapping one of her 
companions on the shoulder, she exclaimed trium- 
phantly, ^'^Dash my wig ! wlioy he means moy feyther!" 
and then turning to the gentleman, added, ''^Yo 
should'n ax'd for Ode Blackbird!'' 

I could adduce similar instances, where persons 
among the peasantry of my native county are much 
better known by sobriquets than by their proper sur- 
names j and many only know them by the former. 


This is particularly the case where several families in 
one locality bear the same name. There were lately 
living in the small town of Folkestone, co. Kent, fifteen 
persons, whose hereditary name was Hall; but who, 
gratia distinctionis, bore the elegant designations of 
Doggy-HalLj Pumble-Foot, 

FeathertoEj Cold-Flip, 

Bumper, Silver-Eye, 

Bubbles, Lumpy, 

Pierce-Eye, Sutty, 

Faggots, Thick-Lips^ 

CuLA, and 

Jiggery, Old Hare. 

It is not probable that advancing civilization will 
ever materially interfere with our present system of 
nomeuclature, which admirably answers, in most cases, 
the purposes for which it is designed. 



" Nomina locorum et praediorimi, quss, ii incolerent, aut quorum domini 
erant." — Ducange. 

" Souvent empruntes d'idiomes veillis, leur sens est aujourd'lmi perdu ; 
souvent tires des noms des lieux, leur signification est uniquement relative 
a des localites." — Salverte. 

HE practice of assuming second names 
from the place of the person^s birth or 
residence is of very high antiquity : we 
have examples in ' Herodotus of Hali- 
carnassus^ and ^Diodorus Siculus/ The 
surname, Iscariot, borne by the betrayer of our Lord, 
is supposed to have been derived from his patrimonial 

Mr. Kemble has shown, that this practice prevailed 
to some extent among our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, who 
placed the preposition cet before the surname, as: 
Godwine get Fecham. 
Eadric set Ho. 
iElfgar get Meapaham. 
Under the general head of local surnames are com- 
prised three classes: 1, Those which express the country 
of the original assumer ; 2, Those which point to his 
estate or place of abode; and, 3, Those that describe 

LOCAL. 43 

the nature or situation of his residence. Such names 
as Scott and France belong to the first; Middeton 
and Winchester to the second; and Hill and Forest 
to the third. 

It is generally supposed that the practice of bor- 
rowing family names from patrimonial estates became 
usual about the close of the tenth century, or the com- 
mencement of the eleventh, particularly in Normandy 
and the contiguous parts of France. Chiefly of this 
kind are the names in that far-famed, though apocry- 
phal document, the (great ^oU ol ^Battel abbep, 

a list of the principal commanders and companions in 
arms of William the Conqueror, to which hereafter the 
reader^s attention will be directed. Under the feudal 
system the great barons assumed as surnames the proper 
names of their seignories, the knights who held under 
them did the like, and these in turn were imitated by 
all who possessed a landed estate, however small. 
Camden remarks, that there is not a single village in 
Normandy that has not surnamed some family in 
England.* The French names introduced at the Con- 
quest may generally be known by the prefixes de, du, 
DEs, de la, ST. or SAiNCT, and by the suffixes font, ers, 


most of which are component parts of proper names of 
places, as every one may convince himself by the slight- 
est glance at a map of northern France. 

I shall here set down, from Camden, some of the 
principal surnames imported into England from the 
opposite side of the channel in the eleventh century, 

* A thorough examination of the sources of those of our local surnames 
which have been borrowed from towns and seignories in Normandy would 
furnish materials for a very interesting essay. 


which he classifies into those of Normandy, Bretagne, 
France, and the Netherlands. 

From Normandy. Mortimer, Warren, Albigny, Percy, 
Gournay, Devereux, Tankerville, St.-Lo, Argenton, 
Marmion, St.-Maure (corruptly Seymom^), Bracy, 
Maigny, Nevill, Ferrers, Harcourt, Baskerville, Mor- 
tagne, Tracy, Beaufoy, Valoins (now Valance?), Cayly, 
Lucy, Montfort, Bonville, Bouil, Avranche, &c. 

From Bretagne. St. Aubin, Morley, Dinant (cor- 
rupted to Dinham), Dole, Balun, Conquest, Valletort, 
Lascelles, Bluet, &c. 

From other parts of France. Courtenaye, Corby, 
Boleyn, Crevequer, St. Leger, Bohun, St. Andrew, 
Chaworthj St. Quintin, Gorges, Villiers, Cromar, Paris, 
Bheims, Cressy (now Creasy), Fynes, Beaumont, 
Coignac, Lyons, Chalons, Chaloner, Estampes or Stamps, 
and many more. 

From the Netherlands. Louvaine, Gaunt (Ghent), 
Ipres, Bruges (now Brydges), Malines, Odingsels, 
Tournay, Douay, Buers (now Byers), Beke; and, in latter 
ages. Daub rid gcourt, Bosbert, Many, Grandison^ &c. 

Many persons who bear names of French origin 
jump, without any evidence of the fact from historical 
records, to the conclusion, that they must needs be de- 
scended from some stalwart Norman, who hacked his 
way to eminence and fortune through the serried ranks 
of the Saxons at Hastings. Such ambitious individuals 
ought to be reminded that, in the eight centuries that 
have elapsed since the Conquest, there have been nu- 
merous settlements of the French in this country ; for 
instance, Queen Isabella of France, the consort of 
Edward 11. introduced in her train many personages 
bearing surnames previously unknown in England, as 
Longchamp, Conyers, Devereux, D^Arcy, Henage, 

LOCAL. 45 

Savage^ Molineux^ and Danvers;"''^ to sa^^ nothing of the 
various settlements of merchants^ mechanics^ artists^ and 
refugees of all kinds, who have sought and found an 
"island home'^ in Britain. 

Although the practice of adopting hereditary sur- 
names from maiaors and localities originated in Nor- 
mandy, we are not therefore to conclude tliat all those 
names that have de, &c. prefixed were of Norman 
origin ; for many families of Saxon lineage copied the 
example of their conquerors in this particular. If the 
Normans had their De Warrens, De Mortimers, and 
D'Evereuxes, the English likewise had their De 
Ashburnhams, De Fords, De Newtons, &c. ad infinitum. 
In some cases the Normans preferred the surname 
derived from their antient patrimonies in Normandy ; 
in others they substituted one taken from the estate 
given them by the Conqueror and his successors. In a 
few instances the particle de or c?' is still retained; but^ 
generally speaking, it was dropped from surnames about 
the time of Henry the Sixth, when the title armiger 
or f S>(Iin'f r among the heads of families, ^ndgenerosus 
or Q'tntplinnit r.mong younger sons, began pretty 
generally to be substituted. Thus, instead of John de 
Alchorne, William de Catesby, &c. the landed gentry 
wrote themselves, John Alchorne of Alchorne, Esq., 
William Catesby of Catesby, Gent. &c. Our quaint 
old friend Verstegan thinks this change began to take 
place " when English men and English manners began 
to prevail unto the recover}^ of decayed credit /^* or, in 
other words, when the native English began to breathe 
from the tyranny of their Norman conquerors. This 
may be true of the former, but it cannot apply to the 

* Anglorum Speculum, 1G84, p. 26. f Restitution, p. 311. 


latter. Brevity appears to have been the real motive 
for the omission of the de^ and other particles pre- 
viously used with surnames. Had euphony been 
regarded, it would never have occurred with the French 
particles ; for, however much better Hall and Toivei^s 
may sound than Atte Halle and Atte Toiver, it cannot 
be denied that De la Chamhre and Le Despenser are 
shorn of all their beauty when curtailed to Chamhers 
and Spencer. But to return ; to bear the denomi- 
nation of one's own estate — to write himself ^ of that 
IIV — was antiently, as it is still, considered a peculiar 
honour and a genuine mark of gentility: but sic transit 
gloria mundi, that I could name instances of persons 
having become absolutely pauperised on the very spot 
from which their ancestors had been surnamed.''^ 

From these observations, however, it must not be in- 
ferred that all families bearing local surnames were 
originally possessors of the localities from which those 
names were borrowed. In all probability a great num- 
ber of such names were never used with the de at all. 
In Germany and Poland they discriminate in this re- 
spect by using the word in, when possessors of the 
place, and of, when only born or dwelling there. The 
like, Camden tells us, was formerly done in Scotland, 
"where jou shall have Trotter 0/ Folsham, and Trotter 
in Fogo; Haitley of Haitley^ and Haitley in Haitley. 
The foregoing remark is satisfactorily borne out by such 
names as these, occurring at an early period in the 
neighbourhood of Hull : Balph le Taverner de Notting- 

* A correspondent remarking upon this passage says, '* At Allsop, co. 
Derby, there are numerous Allsops of every grade in society, and at 
Tissington the same remark applies." I may add, that at Heathfield and 
Lindfield, co. Sussex, there have been peasants of those names re- 

LOCAL. 47 

ham de Kyngeston super Hull; Robert de Dripol de 
Kyngeston, &c.* 

Salverte justly remarks, that ^' the peasant who re- 
moved from his native place was often sufficiently 
distinguished by the name of that place as a surname 
among the inhabitants of the town or village in which 
he took up his abode, and the designation passing to his 
children became hereditary. Hence, without having 
aspired to such an honour, the poor plebeian found him- 
self assimilated to the lord of his native hamlet/^ 

Generally speaking, the practice of adopting surnames 
from territorial possessions ceased at the period when 
that of making family appellatives stationary was intro- 
duced. John de Wilton might acquire an estate at 
Barham and fix his residence there, but he would not 
write himself John de Barham, but John de Wilton of 
Barham. In the county of Cornwall, however, and 
perhaps in other districts, even so lately as the sixteenth 
century, gentlemen often left their antient surnames on 
the purchase or inheritance of a new estate. Thus a 
member of the family of Lothon, buying the lands of 
Busvargus, near the Land^s End, about the year 1560, 
relinquished his ancestral denomination, and wrote him- 
self Busvargus. In Scotland the practice is but recently 

There are several antient baronial surnames to which 
our old genealogists assigned a false origin. Some of 
these may be called Crusading names, from the suppo- 
sition that they were derived from places visited by the 
founders of the families during the holy wars. Mortimer 
was, according to these etymologists, de Mortuo Mart, 
" from the Dead Sea,^^ and Dacre, D'Acre, a town on 
the coast of Palestine; but it is Avell known that the 

* Frost's Ilistorv of Hull. 


places from wliicli these two are derived are situated, 
the one in Normandy, the other in Cumberland. 
Jordan is reputed to have been borrowed from the famous 
river of that name in Palestine ; and Mountjoy is said 
to have been adopted from a place near Jerusalem, 
which, according to that worthy old traveller. Sir John 
Maundevile, '^ men clepen Mount-Joye, for it zevethe 
joy to pilgrymes hertes, be cause that there men seen 
first Jerusalem .... a full fair place and a delicyous.^^* 

There is a vulgar error, that places borrowed their 
designations from families instead of the contrary. On 
this subject Camden sa3^s, — "Whereas therefore these 
locall denominations of families are of no great anti- 
quitie, I cannot yet see why men should thinke that 
their ancestors gave names to places, when the places 
bare those very names before any men did their sur- 
names. Yea, the very terminations of the names are 
such as are only proper and applicable to places, and 
not to persons in their significations, if any will marke 
the locall terminations which I lately specified. Who 
would suppose Hill, Wood, Field, Ford, Ditch, Poole, 
Pond, Town or Tun, and such like terminations, to be 
convenient for men to beare their names, vnlesse they 
could also dream e Hills, W^oods, Fields, Ponds, &c. to 
have been metamorphosed into men by some super- 
naturall transformation ? 

'^^And I doubt not but they will confesse that townes 
stand longer than families. 

* Some religious houses in England had their mountjoys, a name given 
to eminences where the first view of the sacred edifice was to be obtained. 
This name is still retained in a division of the hundred of Battel, not fa^- 
from the remains of the majestic pile reared by Wilham the Conqueror. 
Boyer defines *Mont-joie' as *' a heap of stones made by a French army as 
a monument of victorv." 

LOCAL. 49 

" It may also be prooued that many places which now 
haue Lords denominated of them had .... owners of 
other surnames and families not many hundred yeeres 

" I know neverthelesse, that albeit most townes haue 
borrowed their names from their situation and other 
respects, yet some with apt terminations, have their 
names from men, as Edwardston, Alfredstone, Ubsford, 
Malmesbury (corruptly for Maidulphsbury) . But these 
were from forenames or Christian names, and not from 
surnames. For Ingulphus plainly sheweth that 
Wiburton and Leffrington were so named, because two 
knights, Wiburt and Leofric, there sometime inha- 
bited. But if any one should affirme that the gentle- 
men named Leffrington, Wiburton, Lancaster, Leicester, 
Bossevill, or Shor ditch, gave the names to the places so 
named, T would humbly, without prejudice, craue respite 
for a further day before I beleeued them "* 

This error possibly originated either in the flattering 
tales of the genealogists,t or from the fact of surnames 
having been occasionally appended to the proper names 
of towns and manors, for the sake of distinction ; or, as 
Camden says, "to notifie the owner,^^ as Hurst-Per- 
point, and Hurst-Monceux ; Tarring-Neville, and 
Tarring-Peverell ; Botherfield- Greys, and Botherfield- 
Pypard. It is true that a vulgar ostentation has often 
induced the proprietors of mansions to give their own 
names to them, as Hammond^ s-Place, Latimer's, Caniois- 

* Camd. Rem. p. 108. 

t Among other instances of this kind, I recollect that, in the pedigree 
of Roberts, antiently called Rookhurst, (Ilayley's Sussex MSS. Brit. Mus.) 
compiled in the reign of Elizabeth, it is asserted that a gentleman of Scot- 
land, named Rookhurst, settling in Kent, in the eleventh century, gdiveihaX 
name to the manor so designated ! 

I. 3 


Court, Mark's-Hall, Theobald's, &c. &c. " when as now 
they have possessors of other names ; and the old verse 
is, and alwayes will be_, verified of them, which a right 
worshipfuU friend of mine not long since writ upon 
his new house : 

fhnu nwa, mox l^uju^, ^tH po^tea xuScxq cxijv.^,** 

While on this subject I would remind the reader, 
that the practice of borrowing the designations of 
places from personal names has prevailed in various ages 
and countries : history, both sacred and profane, fur- 
nishes us with innumerable instances. Canaan, Nineveh, 
Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, are 
familiar ones. 

" Romulus excipiet gentem, et Mavortia condet 
Moenia, Romanosque suo de nomine dicet." 

iEn. i, 276-7. 
" iEneadasque meo nomen de nomine fingo." lb. iii, 18. 

Among the Anglo-Saxons it was pretty usual up to 
the period of the Norman Conquest to denominate places 
from their proprietors' personal names, and it is by no 
means improbable that in some instances the locality 
gave back to the posterity of an individual, as a sur- 
name, the very designation which it had originally 
assumed from his baptismal appellation. I am not pre- 
pared to support this remark by any better instance than 
the following, the doubtfulness of which I am willing to 
admit. The Feather stonliaughs of Northumberland are 
said to be descended from a Saxon chieftain named 
Frithestan, who denominated his estate Frithestanhaugh 
or the hill of Frithestan; and his descendants, continuing 
in possession until the Norman period, are alleged to 
have adopted from it the hereditary surname of De 

LOCAL. 51 

The following interesting extract from Mr. Wright^s 
History of Ludlow needs no apology : 

" Many of the names of places, of which the mean- 
ing seems most difficult to explain^ are compounded of 
those of Anglo-Saxon possessors or cultivators ; and the 
original forms of such words are readily discovered by 
a reference to Domesday book. Thus, on the Here- 
fordshire side of Ludlow we have Elmodes-treow or the 
tree of Elmod (now Aymestry) ; Widferdestune, or the 
enclosure of Widferd ( WooflPerton) ; Willaves-lage, or 
the lee (saltus) of Willaf (probably Willey) ; Edwardes- 
tune, or the enclosure of Edward (Adferton) ; Elnodes- 
tune, or the enclosure of Elnod (Elton) ; Bernoldune, or 
the hill of Bernold. In Shropshire there are Chinbaldes- 
cote, or the cot of Chinbald, a place mentioned as de- 
pendent upon Bromfieldj ^Elmundes-tune, or the 
enclosure of Elmund; Elmund-wic, or the dwelling of 
Elmund; Alnodes-treow, or the tree of Elnod, &c. 
Names of places having ing in the middle are generally 
formed from patronymics, which in Anglo-Saxon had 
this termination. Thus a son of Alfred was an 
^Ifreding; his descendants in general were ^Elfredingas 
or Alfredings. These patronymics are generally com- 
pounded with ham, tun, &c., and whenever we can find 
the name of a place in pure Saxon documents, we have 
the patronymic in the genitive case plural. Thus 
Birmingham was Beorm-inga-ham, the home or residence 
of the sons or descendants of Beorm. There are not 
many names of this form in the neighbourhood of 
Ludlow ; Berrington (Beoringatun) was perhaps the 
enclosure of the sons or family of Beor, and Culmington 
that of the family of Culm." 

But enough of these preliminary observations. It is 
now time to classify the local surnames into their 


various kinds. Following the order just now laid down, 
let us first speak of patrial names — those derived from 
the country of the original bearers.* They are more 
numerous than might be expected ; and they usually 
occur in antient records with the prefix Le. 

Alman, from Almany (Germany.) 

Angevin, from Anjou. Camden. 

Beamish (Bohmisch) from Bohemia. This is the 
traditional origin of the name, but there is a township 
so called in the county of Durham. 

Braban, from Brabant. Vide Hammy, infra. 

Bret, Breton, Britton, from Bretagne. 

Burgoyne, from Burgundy. 

Cornish, Cornwallis, from Cornwall. 

Champagne 1 p r^i ^ 

^ >from Champagne. 

Champneys J 

D'Almaine (D'AUemagne), from Germany; also 

Dane, Denis, Dench, from Denmark. 

EsTARLiNG, awkwardly corrupted to Stradling, from 
^ the East,^ probably Greece. 

English, England. It is difficult to account for 
these. iNGLts is the Scottish orthography. 

French, France. (Le) Franceys {xxxi^q Francis.) 

Goth and Gaul occur among the freeholders of 
Yorkshire. These, if not corruptions of other words, 
were probably sobriquets. 

Flanders, Fleming, from Flanders. 

Gael or Gale, a Scot. 

Germaine, from Germany. 

Gascoyne, from Gascony ; also Gaskoin, and Gaskin. 

* These are not of the same kind as the agnomina, Africanus, Ger- 
manicus, &c., of the antients, which were conferred upon generals for great 
exploits against hostile nations. Vide p. 9. 

LOCAL. 53 

Hanway, Hainault was so denominated in the time 
of Henry the Eighth. In Andrew Borders ^Boke of 
the Introduction of Knowledge/ we are informed that 
the "money, maners and fashyons^^ of the inhabitants of 
Holland "is lyke Flaunders, Hanway, andBraban, which 
be commodious and plentyful contreys." 

Holland, Douche ; the latter is the antient form 
of ^ Dutch.' 

Janeway, a Genoese. 

"There was one amonge the Janwayes that the 
Frenche kyng hyred to make warre agaynst the Eng- 
lysshe men, whiche bare an oxe heed peynted in his 
shelde : the which shelde a noble man of France chal- 
lenged : and so longe they stroue, that they must nedes 
fyght for it. So at a day and place appointed, the 
frenche gallaunt came into the felde, rychely armed at 
all peces. The Janwaye, all vnarmed, came also in to 
the felde, and said to the frenche man, wherefore shall 
we this day fight? Mary, said the frenche man, I wyll 
make good with my body, that these armes were myne 
auncetours before thyne. What were your auncetours 
armes ? quod the Janwaye. An oxe heed, sayd the 
frenche man. Than sayde the Janwaye, here nedeth no 
batayle : For this that I beare is a coioes heed !^^ {From 
' Tales, and quicke Answeres, very mery, and pleasant 
to rede/ written about temp. Henry VIII.) 

Ireland, Irish. 

Jew. There is a bookseller at Gloucester bearing 
this name. 

Lombard, Lambarde, from Lombardy. 

Mayne, from the French province. 

Man, from the Island. 

Moore, Morris. The former may be, and probably 
is derived from the topographical expression, as it occurs 


in the form of Atmoor, A7noore, &c. q. d. at the Moor. 
With respect to the latter name I may observe that it 
is variously spelt M orys, Moris^ Morris, Morice, Morrice, 
Mawrice, &c., and compounded with various initial 
expressions, De, Mont, Fitz, Clan, &c. Some of the 
families bearing this name are of Welsh extraction, 
Mawrrivyce, being the Welsh form of Mavors (Mars), 
the god of war, antiently given to valorous chieftains of 
that country. One of the Welsh family mottoes has 
reference to this etymology, "Marte et mari faventi- 
bus/^ The other Morrices are supposed to be oi Moorish 
blood ; their progenitors having come over from Africa, 
by way of Spain, into various countries of western 
Europe at an early period. It is a well-known fact that 
the particular species of saltation, called the morince- 
dance, and several branches of magic lore, were intro- 
duced into these regions many centuries since by natives 
of Morocco. The professors of those arts, enriching 
themselves by their trade, seem in some instances to 
have embraced Christianity, and to have become founders 
of eminent families; certain it is that several magnates 
bearing the names of Morice, Fitz-Morice and Mont- 
morice, attended William the Conqueror in his descent 
upon England, and, acquiring lands, settled in this 
country. The name Montmorris is said to signify ^^from 
the Moorish mountains. ^^* 

Norman, from Normandy. Also a christian name. 

PiCARD, from Picardy, a province of France. 

PoiTEviN, from Poitou. Ca?nd. I have not seen 
this name elsewhere ; Poitlevin however occurs. 



RoMAYNE, from Rome. 

* Vide Burke's Commoners, vol. iv. 

LOCAL. 55 

Rhodes, from the island in the Mediterranean. 

Scott, from Scotland.* 



Wales, Walsh, Wallis, from Wales. 

Westphaling, from Westphalia, in Germany ; also 

Wight, from the island of that name. 

To these may be added PAYNE,t (latinized Paganus,) 
probably given to some Paynim or Mussulman, who em- 
braced the Christian faith during the Crusades ; and 
GiPSEY, bestowed on some person who had left the 
mysterious nomadic tribe, so well known, and become 
naturalized as an Englishman. Be this as it vhvly, it is 
now borne by a very respectable family, who take rank 
as gentry, and reside, if my recollection serves me, 
somewhere in Kent. 

From names of Counties in the British dominions 
we derive the following family names : Cheshire, Kent, 
Essex, % Surrey ,Cornivall, Devonshire, Devon, Darbishire, 

* " Le celebre Walter Scott porte le nom de la tribu Scott, dont le due 
de Buecleugh est le chef; et ce qu'il y ade curieux, c'est que ce due cherche 
son nom en Normandie et pretend que le nom primitif etait VEscot /" — 
De Gerville. 

f Persons who wilfully remained unbaptized were antiently called 
Pagani. (Vide Fosbroke's Encyc. of Antiq.) Paganus is also a personal 

% There is now living in the weald of Kent a person called Essex, from 
the circumstance of his father having migrated from that county. The 
cause of this change of the family appellation was the oddity of the original 
name, which the honest * Wealdishers' found some difficulty in pronouncing. 
The surname Wildisli (cognate with Cornish, Londonish, &c.) was probably 
given to its first bearer, not from any particular wildness of demeanour, but 
because he came from i\\&wild or weald of Sussex. The peasants who go 
to the South-Down farms to assist in the labours of harvest, are still called 
by their hill-country bretbren, * Wildish men.' 


Hampshire, Durham, Noi^folk, Rutland, Wiltshire, 
Dorset, Somerset, Cumberland, Renfrew, Westmoreland, 
Denby, Montgomery (?), Clare (?), Down (?), Ross (?), &c. 
Also Kentish, Devenish, and Cornish, with wliicli last I 
may add Londonish and Londonoys. The singular name 
Bishoprick was probably given to a native of the county 
of Durham. 

The second class of local surnames consists of those 
derived from cities and towns ; as London, Yorke, 
Winchester, Chichester, Rochester, Oxford, Bristoive 
(Bristol), Warwick, Buckingham, Bedford, Carlisle, Lan- 
caster, Hertford, Lincoln, Lester, Coventry, Portsmouth, 
Leives, Hastings, Arundel, Rye, Blackburn, Hampton, 
Huntingdon, Grantham, Rughy, Halifax, Grimsby, J^ath, 
Wells, Poole, Dartmouth, Hull, Kingston, Winchelsea,''^ 
and others far too numerous to mention. The town of 
Devizes is often called ^The Vise:' hence, in all proba- 
bility, w^e have the name of Vyse. 

Thousands of English surnames are derived from 
villages and obscure towns. The following are selected 
from the county of Sussex alone, and the number might 
be greatly increased. Most of them are still borne by 
families in various conditions in life residing in the 

Alfriston, Arlington, Ashburnham. 

Brede, Battle, Bexle,t Balcombe, Barwicke, Barnham, 
Bolney, Beckley, Buxted, Burwash. 

Compton, Coombs, Chailey, Crowhurst, Clayton. 

Denton, Deane, Dicker_, Ditchling, Dallington. 

* The names of Brighton, Devonport, and other very modern towns, 
which occasionally occur, (in police reports, &c.) must be of recent 
assumption, and are probably adopted by delinquents for the purpose of 

t Hodie Bexhill. 

LOCAL. 57 

Eckington, Ernley, Echingham. 

Firle, Eolkington. 

Glynde, Goring, Grinstead, Guestling. 

Hailsham, Heathfield, Hartfield, Hurst, Hel- 
lingly, Hoo. 

Iden, Icklesham, Ifield, Itchingfield, Jevington. 


Lindfield, Lulham. 

Mayfield, Madehurst, Mailing, Meeching. 

Nutley, Nytimber. 

Ore, Oxenbridge. 

Preston, Patching, Penliurst, Poynings, Pevensey, 
Patcham, Preston. 


Stanmer, Sedlescombe, Sutton, Stedham, Shoreham, 

Ticehurst, Trotton. 


Waldron, Wistonneston, Washington, Watlington, 
Wadhurst, Willingdon. 

Numerous as are the surnames derived from villages, 
those borrowed from manors, farms, and single houses, 
are very much more so. Old records prove that five, 
eight, or ten, local surnames, have originated in a single 
parish of considerable extent, and a county of average 
dimensions yields hundreds of such names. It follows 
therefore that the local surnames of English origin must 
be many thousands in number. 

To collect a complete list of local names would 
require the labour and research of years. Well may 
M. de Gerville remark on this subject, '' ce chapitre est 
immense /" The best sources for such a collection would 
be the indexes of places usually inserted in our larger 
county histories and other topographical works. A 



careful examination of the ordnance surveys, and other 
similar documents^ would convince the inquirer that 
thousands of family names of uncouth sound and ortho- 
graphy, and whose origin seemed to baffle his ingenuit}^ 
are in reality derived from obscure hamlets and insig- 
nificant landed properties ; but more on this subject in 
a future chapter. 

As we retain most of the names of places imposed 
by our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, with their significant 
terminations, it is no wonder that — 

" h\ dFottJ, in flam, in %tv autJ Coit 
CIjc most of iEncflidj ^urnamti^ run." 

I am not quite sure, however, whether the proverb 
is sufficiently comprehensive, and I would therefore 
take the hberty of adding : 

Ing, Hurst and Wood, Wick, Sted and Field, 
Full many English surnames yield. 

These ten may perhaps be regarded as the principal 
terminations, but there are several others only second 
to them in frequency : 

With Thorpe and Bourne, Cote, Caster, Oke, 
Combe, Bury, Don and Stowe, and Stoke ; 
With Ey and Port, Shaw, Worth, and Wade, 
Hill, Gate, Well, Stone are many made; 
Cliff, Marsh, and Mouth, and Down, and Sand, 
And Beck and Sea with numbers stand. 

Most of these also occur as distinct surnames. 

Identity of surname is not always proof of the 
consanguinity of the persons bearing it ; for in some 
instances two families have derived their surname from 
one place, in other cases from two different places 
bearing the same designation. As nearly every county 

LOCAL. 59 

has its Norton, its Newton,^ its Stoke, or its Sutton, 
there may be nearly as many distinct families of those 
names as there are counties. Much less are such 
names as Attwood, Waters, Wells, Banks, &c. peculiar 
to one family. 

" Rivers/^ says Camden, " have imposed names to 
some men, as the old Baron Sur-Teys (hodie Surtees), 
that is, upon the Tees . . . Derwentwater, Eden, 
Troutbeck, Hartgill, Esgill, Wampullj Swale, Stour, 
Temes (and Tamys), Trent, Tamar, Grant, Tyne, Croc, 
Lone, Lund, Calder.^' To these I add Severn, Parret, 
Dee, Kennetf,f Loddon, Yarrow, Mole, Lea, Cam, Dai^t, 
Dore, Wetland, Sour, Don, Shannon, Ure, Wear, Yare. 
I think Pickersgill belongs to this class, as it signifies 
" a stream inhabited by pike or pickerell.^^ 

Hitherto I have treated of surnames derived from 
the proper names of places : let us now turn to those 
of the third class, namely those which describe the 
nature or situation of the original bearer's residence, 
such as Hill, Dale, Wood, 

After the practice of adopting the name of one^s 
own estate had become pretty general amongst the 
landed families, men of the middle and lower classes, 
(* UngeUtpImen,* as the Boke of St. Alban's has it,) 
imitating their superiors, borrowed their family names 

* It is remarkable that many of the most antique places in the kingdom 
bear this name, which signifies New-town. This definition reminds me of 
an epitaph in a churchyard in the north of England : 

'* Here lies (alas I) and more's the pity, 
All that remains of John New-city." 
To which the following somewhat important nota bene is attached : 
" {& The man's name was A'coj-Town, which would not rhyme." 
t If not from the Scottish personal name Keneth. 


from the situation of their residences ; thus, if one 
dwelt upon a hill, he would style himself Atte Hull;' 
if on a moor, Attmore, or Amove ; if under a hill, 
Underdoiv7i ; if near some tower or gate, Atte Tower 
or Agate ; if by some lake or shore, Bywater or 
Bythesea ;* if near the public road, Bythewayj &c. 

The prefix principally made use of was atte, which 
was varied to atten when the name began with a 
vowel. " An instance of this kind occurs in the sur- 
name of that celebrated personage in legal matters, Mr. 
John a-Noke, whose original appellation was John Atten 
Oaky as that of his constant antagonist was John Atte 
Style. That the letter n is apt to pass from the end 
of one word to the beginning of another, is shown in 
newty which has certainly been formed by a corruption 
from an ewt or eft.'^-\ Noke is now seldom met with, 
but its corruption Noakes is one of the most common 
of surnames. The phrase, ^' Jack Noakes and Tom 
Styles," is familiarly employed to designate the rabble, 
and it is not, as to the former name at least, a thing 
of yesterday, for Skelton, who wrote in the early part 
of the sixteenth century, in his ^ Colin Clout,' a satire 
on the bishops of his time, says : 

" Their mules gold do eat, 
Their neighbours die for meat ; 
What care they though Gill sweat 
Or Jack of the Noke .?" 

* One family of Bythesea, who have been gentry for upwards of three 
centuries, have a tradition that the founder of their house was a foundling, 
and that the name was given him (in reference to the situation where he 
was discovered) by a gentleman who bequeathed to him the whole of his 
estate. Names and dates, those useful verifiers of tradition, are wanting, 
I fear, in this case. The Dutch have their De Meer, and the Spaniards 
their Delraar, both signifying ' Of the sea.' 

t Glossary to Chaucer's Poems, edit. 1825. 

LOCAL. 61 

The singularly inelegant name of Boaks appears to 
be a contraction of ^ By the Oaks/ and Haynoke is 
doubtless ' a^ Noke/ Nash is, in like manner, a 
corruption of Atten-Ashj^ and Nye of Atten-Eyej at 
the island. 

In the course of a few generations the prefixes atte, 
&c., were softened to a, and with the latter some few 
names have descended to our own times, as Agate, 
Amoore, Acourt, &c. Generally speaking, however, 
the a was dropped towards the end of the sixteenth or 
the beginning of the seventeenth century. Camden 
supposes the a to be a softening of or, as Adam 
a^Kerby for Adam of Kirby. I think it may be deduced 
from four different sources : 

1. From At, as above — John a^Gate. 

2. From Of, as in the case of Adam a^Kerby. 

3. From the Latin preposition a, signifying from, 
as ' Thomas a^ Dover,^ equivalent to ' Thomas who 
came from Dover.^ 

4. From the same preposition in a genealogical 
sense, as ' Peter a^ James,^ for Peter the son of, or 
one descended /rom, James. 

As a proof of the great frequency of names with 
the prefix at and its variations, the following are cited 
from the records of the county of Northampton alone, 
and the number might be greatly increased : 

Athill. Atmere. Atmore. 

Atbrigge. Attechurch. Attediche. 

Atte Holle. Atte Hawe. Atte Hall. 

Atte-Kirk. Atte Mylle. Atte Mylne. 

Atte-wall. Attewelle. Atte wind. 

Attegate. Atterclifi'e. Atwyk.f 

• Ade. atte Nasche, 129G. 

t From Bridges' Northamptonshire. 


^By^ and ^ under^ were sometimes used as prefixes, 
e. g. : 

Bygrove. Bythesea. Bywater. 

Byfield. Byford. Bygate. 

Underhill. Underdown. Underwood. 


Since tliis kind of designations forms no inconsider- 
able portion of the family nomenclature of Englishmen, 
I must beg my indulgent reader to don his hat and 
gloves, and accompany me to inspect the places and 
objects from which our simple ancestors delighted to 
denominate themselves, and which, for the purpose of 
getting a better view, I shall digest into an alphabetical 
list, after the example, and with the aid of, my great 
predecessor in these matters. Master William Camden;^ 
making, in the course of the perambulation, such ex- 
planatory observations as may be deemed necessary ; 
and relating such anecdotes as may seem meet to en- 
liven a part of my subject which all but antiquaries 
and philologists will perchance consider excessively 


Abbey, This name was probably conferred upon some 
menial attached to a monastery. 

Applegarth. An orchard. Applegate, Appleyard. 
Annitaye. A hermitage. 
Ash. See Tree. 

* Camden's list contains 253 names. Verstegan has likewise a similar 
list. I have derived much assistance from Halliwell's ' Archaic and Pro- 
vincial Dictionary,' and most of the illustrations from MS. sources are bor- 
rowed from that work. 



/ ') 


Back. In some places a ferry; at Bristol, a wharf; 
in Cheshire it is synonymous with ' Beck/ q. v. 

Baine (Fr.) A bath.^ Hence Baynes. 


Bank, Banks. 

Barn, Barnes. 

Ba7Tow (A.-S.Bearw.) A barrow; a high or hilly place; 
a wood or grove ; a hill covered with wood. 

Barton. A curtilage. In Devonshire it is applied to 
any freehold estate not possessed of manorial privileges. 

Beacon, Becon. A beacon is 
any contrivance by which in- 
formation may be conveyed 
either by sea or land, generally 
by means of fire. At the pe- 
riod when family names were 
first generally adopted, it was 
a kind of fire- cage attached to 
a high pole, and was employed 
either for the purposes of the 
modern lighthouse or for alarm- 
ing the country in case of in- 
vasion by the enemy. In woody 
districts the beacon consisted of a huge pile of brush- 
wood or furze which was set fire to in such an emergency. 
Nearly every spot of unusual height in the county of 
Sussex is called a beacon, and was until a comparatively 
recent date crowned with its stack of fuel. 

* There is a remarkable coincidence as to the name of Banwell in 
Somersetshire, where a great deposit of fossil bones has been discovered, 
and from which the place might be supposed to be denominated — ban 
being the A. -S. for bone; but Collinson mentions a much esteemed sul- 
phureous spring there, which doubtless, as a former bain or bath, originated 
the name. 



Beck (A.-S. Becc.) A brook ; and 

Beckett. A little brook. "^ 

Bellchambers. Probably a church tower. 

Bent. A plain ; a common ; a field ; a moor ; so 
called from those places being frequently covered with 
the bent-grass. Willan says bents are " high pastures 
or shelving commons.^^ " The term/^ says Halliwell_, 
" is very common in early English poetry : 

' Appone a bent without the borghe 
With scharpe arowes 3e schote hym thurge.* 

MS. Lincoln, A. i. 17." 

Bearne. A wood. 

Biggin. A building ; hence Newbiggin is ^ a new 

Borde. A cottage. In Domesday, ^ bordarii ' are 

Boys (A.-N.) A wood ; bois. 

" And bad them go betyme 
To the boys Seynt Martyne." MS. Cantab., f. ii. 38. 

Borstall. Much discussion has been wasted on this 
word. In Sussex (where alone I have met with it as 
a surname), it signifies a winding road up a hill, and 
only occurs on the northern escarpment of the South 
Downs. ' Robert atte Borstall.' Sussex Subsidy Roll, 

Bourne. 1. A boundary or limit (Fr. Borne). '^ The 
undiscovered country — from whose bourne no traveller 
returns.'^ 2. A stream (A.-S. Burne). Such names 
as Seaborn, Winterborn, and Newborn seem rather to 
have been derived from this local source than from the 
original bearers having been born at sea. in winter, &c. 

* Parker, in his ' Gh)ssary of Heraldry/ mentions a bird of this name, 
and states, without however naming his authority, that Thomas a' Becket 
bore three of them in his arms. 

LOCAL. 65 

Boroughs, Burg, Burke, Borrow, Burrows, are sy- 

Bottle (A.-S. Botl.) A seat or chief mansion-house ; 
more usually a village. The German battel, in Wolf- 
enbiittel and many other names has the same significa- 
tion. It also occurs simply, and in composition, in 
many names of places in England, as Bootle, Nevfbottle, 
Harbottle, &c. A sailor who had served on board of 
a man-of-war called the Unity, and bore this surname, 
gave one of his sons the name of ^ Unity Bottle.' 
The baptismal rite was performed at a village church 
in Sussex, and the minister hesitated some time before 
he would confer so truly ridiculous a name. Booth, 
in Cheshire, has the same meaning. 

Bottom (A.-S. Botm.) In Sussex the words dale, 
vale, and valley are rarely used ; Bottom is the substi- 
tute. In some cases hills, or rather their summits, are 
called 'Tops;' e. g. Norton Top; Houndene Bottom. 
The term under consideration signifies any low ground 
or valley ; hence Longbottom, Sidebottom, Winterbottom, 
Rowbottom, Rosebottom, Shoebotham, Tarbottam, and 
that elegant surname Shufflebottom, which, when under- 
stood to signify ' shaw-field-bottom,' has nothing ridi- 
culous in it. 

"Bamsbottom,'' observes an intelligent correspondent, 
''is the name of a township in the parish of Bury, 
Lancashire. In the same locality is a place called 
' Ramsden.' These places are vulgarly pronounced 
BoMsbottom and BoMsden : their signification is, the 
Valley of Boms. Roms or Rhoms are the wild onions 
which abound in these two places, and nowhere else in 
the neighbourhood. In many parts of the North,'' 
he continues, " this word is compounded with names of 
trees, as Oakenbottom, Ashenbottom, Owler (that is Alder-) 


bottom. In Lancashire hickin is the mountain ash, 
whence perhaps Higginbottom"^ In another chapter, 
however, I have assigned a German etymology for this 


Bridge [Briggs, Bridges, Attibridge). 

Brun7ie, v. Bourne. In some instances perhaps from 
^ brun/ Fr. and O. E. for brown. 

Brougliy Burgh , v. Borough. 

Bree (Celtic Bre or Brae), a declivity. 

Brook J Abrook ; Addenbrookc = Atten-brooke. 

Bury, a hill, a barrow; a court, a house or castle. In 
Herefordshire and some other counties the chief house 
of a manor is still called a bu7y. 

Burne, a brook ; a northern pronunciation of Bourne, 
whence Burns, Aburne, &c. 

By (Danish), a habitation ; hence the strange-look- 
ing surnames terminating in bee, as Ashbee, Holmbee, 

Burtenshaw was antiently written ' Byrchenshaw,' 
that is, the little wood or thicket of birch-trees. 

Bush. Although it may seem exceedingly trivial 
that so insignificant an object should name one of the 
lords of the creation, there is little doubt of the fact. 
There was lately living in Scotland a peasant who, with 
his children, was called Funns, because his cot was 
surrounded by furze, called, in some parts of the country, 
by that name. This sobriquet had so completely 

* * Whitford and Mitford ply your pumps ; 
You Clutterbuck, come, stir your stumps ; 
Why are you in such doleful dumps ? 
A fireman — and afraid of bumps ! 
What are they feared on ? fools— od rot 'em !' 
Were the last words of Higginbottom. 

Rejected Addresses. 

LOCAL. 67 

usurped the place of his hereditary surname that his 
neighbours called him by no other name.* 
ButtSy marks for archery. In the days when 

iEiiglantJ iuaiS but a fling 

^abc for t]^e 'Crooketi ^ttcfe' antr t]^e ' (&xt^^^QQ^z OTi'ng,' 

most parishes had a place set apart for this necessary 
sport, and the place is still indicated in many parishes 
by the name of " the Butts/^ A person resident near 
such a spot would very naturally assume the name of 
" John at the Butts.'' 


Camp. Camps J an earthwork. 

Carr (Caer, Brit.), frequently applied to elevations 
where castles have stood. '' A wood or grove on a 
moist soil, generally of alders. A remarkable floating 
island nearly covered with willows, and called the Car, 
is mentioned in the Diversions of Purley, p. 443. 
Any hollow place or marsh is also termed a car^' 
(Halliwell.) A pool (Bailey.) In Lincolnshire it means 
a gutter; in Yorkshire, moist, boggy land. The word 
in Anglo-Saxon, on the contrary, signifies a rock. 

Came (cairn), a Druidical heap of stones. A plough- 
land. (Halliwell.) 

Cave. A good name for a person residing in, or 
near the mouth of a cavern. This name probably 
originated in Derbyshire or some other mountain region. 

Castell, Castle. Chatto seems to be a corruption of 
the French chateau. 

Chantrey. In many instances the lands formerly 

* Vide an early Number of the Saturday Magazine. I may remark, how- 
ever, that Bush was formerly the common denotement, and sometimes the 
sign, of an inn. Vide Chapter XL 


given by persons to support a chantry for their souW 
health in parish or other churches still bear such de- 
signations, as Chantry Land, Chantry Farm, &c. 

Chapel. Chappie. 



Channel. The Italians have a noble family of Canali, 
a name of the same import. A feud once happened 
between this family and that of Da Ponte (Bridge) on 
the subject of precedence. " The bridges,^^ said the 
latter, "are higher than the canals!^' "The canals,^' 
retorted the former, "are more antient than the bridges!" 
The quarrel grew to so great a height, and was of such 
long continuance, that the Venetian senate was com- 
pelled to interpose its authority ; and hence it was 
said, that that august body had ^broken down the 
Bridges and filled up the Canals !^^" 

Chase, a forest or hunting-ground. The distinction 
between a chase and a forest seems to be this : the 
former generally belongs to a subject — the latter to 
the crown. 

Clive, (A.-S.), a cliff. Cleave, Cleve, are other or- 
thographies of the same word. 

Clough, a ravine, or narrow glen, a deep descent 
between hills ; sometimes a cliflP. 'Clym of the Clough,^ 
a Cumberland ballad. 

Clow (whence Chives). In A.-S. a rock. 

" Sende him to seche in clif and clowJ^ (Halliwell.) 

In the North it means a floodgate. 

Close, an enclosure. 

Cobb, a harbour, as the Cobb of Lyme Regis, co. 

* Salverte. 

LOCAL. 69 

Copp or Cap, a mound or bank, the summit of a hill. 

Combe, a valley (A.-S.) 


Cot [Cote, Cotes), a cottage (A.-S. Cote); a den; a 

Court, the principal house of a village, (Halliwell ;) 
more properly a manor-house. 

Cove, a cavern ; a harbour for boats. 

Covert. " The coverts of a forest technically signify 
thickets full of trees touching each other, those places 
wherein they are scattered and stand apart being only 
termed woods.^^ — Thomson^s Magna Charta, 340. 

Cow dray (Fr. Coudraie), a grove of hazel trees. 

Cotterel, in Domesday, is a cottage ; but in the 
Promptorium Parvulorum the inhabitant of one — a 

Cragg, Craig, a rock or precipice (Celtic) ; perhaps 
also a creek from the A.-S. Crecca. 

Croft, a small enclosed field (A.-S.) Craft is a 
Northern pronunciation. 

Cross, given to one who dwelt by a market-cross or 
near cross-roads. 

Crouch, a cross (from the Latin crux). That all 
cross-roads formerly had a cross of wood or stone 
erected near the intersection, is pretty clear from the 
names still retained, as John's Cross, Mark-Cross, 
Stone-Cross, High-Cross, Hand-Cross, New -Cross, 
Wych-Cross (perhaps so named in honour of St. 
Kichard de la Wych, bishop of Chichester) . All these, 
and many others, occur in Sussex.* At Seaford such 

* These crosses served also for direction-posts. Probably this was their 
primary use, the religious idea being an after-thought. The annexed cut 
is borrowed from one in Barclay's " Ship of Fooles." (Vide Fosbroke's 



a spot bears the name of ^ the Crouch/ We find also 
High Crouch, Katty's* Crouch, Fair Crouch, Crow 
Crouch, &c. &c. Crouched or Crutched Friars were 
an order of rehgious who wore a cross upon their 
robes. The name crutch applied to the supports used 
by cripples is evidently from the same root. A person 
dwelling near some wayside cross would feel proud of 
such an appellative as John atte Crouch, a form in 
which the name frequently occurs. 

* Saint Katherine's. 

LOCAL. 71 


Dale, Dean, Dell. Nearly synonymous. " Some- 
times/' as a friend observes, '^ dean means a bushy 
dingle or vale ; but, occasionally, something much 
greater, as Dean Forest, and Kvden, co. Warwick.^' 
The Sussex family of Atte Denne inverted the syllables 
of their name, and made it Dennat or Dennett. "i^ 

Derne, a solitary place (A.- 8. Dierna). 


Dyke. In the South and East this word signifies a 
ditch; elsewhere an elevated ridge of earth serving as 
a barrier against water. 

Donne, Don, Dun (A.-S.), a down. 


Ey, Eye, a watery place; an island (A.-S. Ig). 
Eruth, Rith, a ford, " John i' the Eruth,^' Nona ;= 
John Ford. 

East, West, North, South. 



Fell, Fells, barren, stony hills. Mr. Halliwell says, 
a hill, moor, valley, or pasture ; any unenclosed space 
without many trees (v. ^Frith^). 

Moyses wente up on that fell 

Fourty dayes there gon dwelle. Cursor Mundi. 

Fenn. The old family of Atte Fenne of Sussex 
dropped the prefix, added an r, and became Fenner or 

Femes (A.-S.), a desert, wilderness : hence Fames. 

Field, Byfield, Attfield. 

* Cartwright's Rape of Brambcr. 


Fleet, a tide creek ; formerly any stream. 

Fold. In some places the enclosure for impounded 
cattle is so called. 

Forest. In Holland, Van Voorst ; in France, La- 

Forth, a ford. 

Font, a spring. 


Fossey (fosse-way). 

Foss, a ditch. 

Foot, Foote, the bottom of a hill, 

Finth. In Scotland, an arm of the sea ; elsewhere, 
a plain among woods ; elsewhere, a hedge or coppice. 

" Also there is diflPerence between the fryth and the 

fell; the fels are understood the mountains, vallyes, 

and pastures, with corne and such like ; the frythes 

betoken the springs and coppyses.^^ Noble Art of 

Venerie. (Halliwell.) 

" Whersoever ye fall hy fryth or by fell, 
My deer chylde take heed how Tristom dooth you tell, 
How many maner beestys of venery ther were," &c. 

Bo/ce of St. Albam. 

Furlong, a division in an unenclosed or tenantry field. 
Many fields after enclosure are thus called. 



" The name of the grandson of Bocchoris, Tilgamus 
or Tilganus, signifies ' garden child.^ The fable is, that 
the infant having been cast from the top of a tower, 
by the order of his unnatural grandfather, was caught 
in mid-air by an eagle, which safely deposited him in 
a garden. ^^ Salverte, 

LOCAL. 73 

Garth, a yard^ a little close beliind a house, a warren, 
a churcliyard; in fact, almost any small enclosure. Also 
a garden, as in the following quotation : 

'^ Tak a peny-weghte of ffarthe-cresse sede, and gyff 
hym, at ete, and gare hym after a draghte of gude rede 
wyneJ'— MS. Line. Med. f. 292. 

Garnett, a granary. 


Gate, whence Agate, Gates, Bygate. Gate in Scot- 
land means a way or road. 

" He folowed thame thorowe the wod, 
Alle the gatis that they gode." 

MS. Lincoln J A. i, 17, f. 136. 

Gill, a small pebbly rivulet, a ravine or dell. 

Glyn (Celtic), a glen. 

Goole, a canal. 

Gore, a word used in old records to describe a narrow 
slip of ground. 

Grave, Graves, a grove ; a cave. 

Gi^ange, a large farm_, kept in hand by a religious 
fraternity, with buildings and often a chapel attached. 

Grove, Groves. A foundling, now living at Tun- 
bridge, bears this name, from his having been exposed 
in the Grove at Tunbridge Wells. 

Green, Greene. 

Gravett, a little grove. 

Gurnall, a granary. (Scot.) 


Hall, a great house. 
Halliwell, a holy well. 

Haycock. Probably given to a foundling exposed iu 
a hay-field. 

I. 4 


Ham (A.-S.), a dwelling, whence home. In the 
West, a rich level pasture ; in Sussex, a plot of land 
near water ; sometimes a small triangular field or croft. 

Harbour, Havens. 

Hatch, a floodgate ; in Cornwall, a dam or mound ; 
in forest districts, the gateways on the verge of a forest 
across a public road, as Cooper^s Hatch, Mersham Hatch. 

Haugh (whence Hawes), How, a green plot in a 
valley ; a hillock ; flat ground by a river. 

Hay, a hedge, an enclosure ; in medieval Latin, a 
minor park or enclosure in the forests for taking deer, 
&c., is called a ' Haia.' 


Head, a foreland or promontory, as Beachy Head, 
St. Alban^s Head. Several names derived from locali- 
ties are identical in sound and orthography with parts 
of the person_, as Head, Back, Foot. 

Hedge, Hedges. There is a great disposition among 
the illiterate to pluralize their names, as Woods for 
Wood, Holms for Holme, Beeves for Beeve. 


Heme, a house (Bede). 

Hithe (A.-S. Hyd), a haven, a wharf. 

Hide, an old law term for as much land as can be 
cultivated with one plough. Sometimes a field ; occa- 
sionally a common or unenclosed pasture, as Arlington 
Hide, in Sussex. 

Hill, Hull. From hill came ^At the hill,^ whence 
Thill. So also ^ Nill,' from Atten-hill, which, lest they 
should appear to be nonentities, some who bear it have 
changed to Knill ! From the corresponding French 
term * Dumont^ came our Dymond. 

Holme, Holmes, flat land, a meadow surrounded with 
water ; other islands, like those in the Bristol Channel. 

LOCAL. 75 

Holt, a grove^ or small forest (Halliw.) ; in Sussex, 
invariably a small hanging wood, as Jevington Holt, 
Wilmington Holt, Box Holt ; a grove of trees about a 
house (Howell) ; a peaked hill covered with wood 
(Brockett) . NqU z=z Atten-Holt. 

" Ye that frequent the hilles, 
And highest holtes of all, 
Assist me with your skilful quilles, 
And listen when I call." 

Tuberville's Songs and Sonnets (Percy Ant. Rel.) 

Hold, a fortress, a tenement. Holden is probably a 
corruption of ' holding/ in the latter sense. 

Hope, a valley ; a small field ; a mountain dingle ; 
Camden says, " the side of an hill.^^ 

Hoo, How, Hoe (A.-S. ' How^), a high place, as the 
Hoe at Plymouth ; a hill. 

House. This seems a strange word to adopt as a 
name, since residence in a house was never so unusual a 
circumstance as to stamp any peculiarity upon a person 
or a family. John at Tower and Roger at Church 
might well distinguish individuals from their neigh- 
bours, but William at House could scarcely be deemed 
a description at all. The same name occurs in other 
languages, as Las Casas in Spanish, Dellacasa in Italian. 
It may here be remarked that the termination us or 
hus is a corruption of house, as — 

Stonnus from Stonehouse, 

Woodus '' Woodhouse, 

Duffus '' Dovehouse, 

Malthus '' Malthouse,* 

Hoppus ^^ Hophouse, 

Aldus andl ,, K^^ ,- x it i 

* Mme. D'Arblay's Mem. 


Windus from V/indhouse (?), 

Loftus '' Lofthouse^ and 

Bacchus '' Bakehouse or Backhouse. 

This last corruption took place in the sixteenth cen- 
tury. In 1551_, the benefice of Addington-Magna was 
presented to Christopher Backhouse, and only seventeen 
years subsequently, George Bacchus and others present 
the same living to another Christopher Bacchus, evi- 
dently a family connection of the former.* To this 
class may probably be referred such names as Tyas, 
Nyas, Dallas, 

Hole, In the south of England this word is fre- 
quently applied to a house occupying a low site, as 
* Hiir with some prefix is to one in an elevated situ- 
ation : sometimes both terms occur in immediate 
proximity to each other, as Burg/w// and Burg^o/e, 
Thunder^s Hill and Thunder's Hole, in Sussex. 

Hooke and Hoivke. This word occurs in various 
places as the name of a trivial locality, but I cannot 
ascertain its meaning. Atte Hooke, which is found in 
the Nonee return, probably became ^ Tooke.^ 

Holloivay (the Mi olio w -way'), a deep road between 
high banks. 

Holyoak, some oak which a superstitious legend had 
rendered famous. 

Hospital. I have not found this word used as a 
surname, but Spital and Spittle, its contractions, are not 
uncommon. Ashpital is probably a provincial form of 
it ; while Spittlehouse is a somewhat pleonastic word of 
the same import. 

Hunt, a chase, as Foxhunt in Sussex. 

* Vide Bridges' Northamptonshire, ii, 204. 

LOCAL. 11 

Hume, Home, a corner. Johes iu le Hurne, that 
isj John in the Corner, occurs in the Nonse, 1341. 
Chaucer spells it heme : 

*' Lurking in hemes and in lanes blinde, 
Wherof these robbours and these theves by kinde 
Holden hir privee fereful residence." 

Chanones- Yemannes Prol. 

Hurst (A.-S.), a wood. 

Ing, a meadow near a river. 

Inch, Ince, an island. 

Isle, an eminent family called De VIsle, and after- 
wards Lisle, borrowed that name from the Isle of 
Wight ; another family borrowed the same surname 
from the Isle of Ely. 


Kay, a quay; sometimes Key, and thence Atkey. 

Kirk, a church. 

Knapp (^Cnaep/ A.-S.), the top of a hill. "A hillocke 
or knap of a hill.^^ Cotgrave. 

Knoll, whence Knowles, the top of a hill (^ Cnoll/ 
A.-S.), a little round hill. 


Law, a hill or eminence (' Hlcwe/ A.-S.) 

Lade (A.-S.), a passage for water, a drain. 

Land (v. Launde). 


Lath, a barn. 


Launde (whence belike Lowndes) ^ a plain place in a 
wooclj a lawn. 

*' Now is Gy to a launde y-go 
Where the dragon duelled tho." Guy of Warwickey p. 262. 

" For to hunt at the hartes in thas hye loundes." 

Morte Arthure. 

Lee^ Legh, Lea, Leigh, Lye, various spellings of one 
and the same word, meaning a pasture. In names of 
British origin, Lie, a place. 


Locke, a place where rivers meet with a partial ob- 
struction from a wooden dam ; or, Loch, a lake. 

Loppe, an uneven place. 

Lough, a lake. 

Loive, a small round hill (A.-S. ' Lowe^), a tumulus or 

" "With oure sheep upon the lowe." Cursor Mundi. 

Sometimes it signifies a farm, otherwhile a grove. 

Lynn (Celtic), a pool. Some families so surnamed 
may derive from the town in Norfolk. 

Lynch, a small hanging wood or thicket, on the 
South Downs called a ^ link ;' a strip of sward between 
the ploughed lands in common fields. In Gloucester- 
shire, a hamlet. 


March, a boundary, as the Marches of Wales ; a 
landmark. To march is to extend : so Sir John 
Maundevile : 

"Arabye durethe fro the endes of the reme of 
Caldee unto the last ende of AfFrvk, and marchethe to 
the lond of Ydumee." 



LOCAL. 79 

Mead, Meadow, Meadows, Mees. Sjn. The French 
have Paquier^ Pasquier, and Pasquet (which we have 
naturalized in Packet), meaning pasturage. 

Meer^ Meeres, a lake, a shallow water (A.-S. ' Mere^) j 
a boundary. 

Mill. Milne, and Mulne are antient orthographies. 
From the Fr. Des Moulins comes our Mullins. 

Minster (A.-S.) a monastery. 

More, Moore, Attemoore, Amoor, Amor.^ 

Moss, a moor or boggy plain. 

Mote, Moate. 

Mouth, a haven. 


Mountain. This name once gave occasion to a pun, 
which would have been excellent had the allusion been 
made to any other book than the Holy Scriptures. Dr. 
Mountain, chaplain to Charles II, was asked one day 
by that monarch to whom he should present a certain 
bishopric, just then vacant. '^If you had but faith, 
Sire,^^ replied he, '' I could tell you who.^^ " How so,^' 
said Charles, '^ if I had but faith ?'^ " Why yes,^^ said 
the witty cleric, " your majesty might then say to this 
Mountain 'Be thou removed into that See.' '^ 


Narraway (narrow-way). 


Orchard. A correspondent of the Gentleman's 
Magazine, Oct. 1820, suggests that such names as 

* A facetious correspondent of the Literary Gazette (B. A. Oxon, Sept. 
1842) says, he cannot pass 135, New Bond Street, without being reminded 
of the 10th Eclogue, " Omnia vincit amor ;" and he suggests a free trans- 
lation of the passage, viz. : " Amor is the best wine-merchant in London !" 


Townsend, Street,, Cliurcliyard^ Stair, Barn, Lane, and 
Orchard, '^ originated with foundhngs, and that they 
possibly pointed out the places where they were ex- 
posed," — a plausible suggestion, had we not abundant 
evidence of their having been first given to persons 
from their residing, when masters of families, in or 
near to such places. 


Park, Parkes (Celt. ' Parc^). 

Penn (Celt.), the top of a hill. 

Pende, an arch, generally one under which there is a 
roadway or passage. 


Pitt, Pitts. Referring to the remark above, I may 
mention that surnames of this kind have, occasionally , 
been given to foundlings, and that even in recent times. 
I perfectly recollect the grim visage of a surly septua- 
genarian named Moses Pitt, who had been exposed in 
infancy in a m^ivl-jnt. "Nobody likes you," said this 
crabbed piece of humanity, in a quarrel with a neigh- 
bour. " Nor you," replied the latter, " not even your 
mother.'^ Moses was silent. 

Pinnock or Pennock, in Sussex, is the little frame- 
work above an archway over a stream, like that repre- 
sented in the engraving. 

LOCAL. 81 

Pine, a pit (Bailey). 

Pinfold or P enfold, a pound for cattle or sheep. 
Thus, in the ^ Two Gentlemen of Verona/ — 

" Proteus. Nay, in that you stray ; 'twere best pound you. 
Speed. Nay, sir ! less than a pound shall serve me for carrying your letter. 
Pro. You mistake ; I mean the pound — a pinfold. 
Speed. From a pound to a. pin, fold it over and over, 

'Tis threefold too little for carrying a letter to your lover." 


Plott, Piatt, a little piece of ground ; a field of even 

Place, a mansion. 

Peel (Celtic ' ViV), primarily, perhaps, a pool ; now, 
on the Scottish border, a moated fort. '^Within my 
recollection,^^ says the Rev. A. Hedley, ^' almost every 
old house in the dales of Rede and Tyne was what is 
called a peel-house, built for securing the inhabitants 
and their cattle in moss-trooping times.^^* 

Pell, a deep standing water. 

Pollard, a cropped tree. 

Poole, Pole. Shakspeare plays with the name of De 
la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, in Henry VI, Part II, where 
he makes the captain who seizes him at sea tell him 
that he is the pool or puddle — 

" whose filth and durt 
Troubles the silver spring where England drinks." 

Pont, a bridge. The kindred names Pontius, Ponto, 
Dujwnt, Da Ponte, &c., occur in most of the antient 
and modern languages of Europe. 

Plays ted, Playstoiv, a place for sports ; still found in 
many places. 

Port, a haven. 


* Archaeologia /Eliana, i, p. 243. 

.1, § 


Prindle, a croft. 


Quarel, Quarll, a quarry. 


Rayne, Raynes, a bound or limit. 

Rick (whence Ria^)j a stack of hay or corn. 

Ridge, Attridge. 

Rigg, a ridge. By dropping A from At Higg we get 
Trigg and thence Triggs. 

Rill, a small stream. John at the Rill would first 
become John Atterill, and afterwards John Trill. How 
subtle are the clues that guide us in etymological in- 
vestigations ! 

River, Rivers. 

Rock. In French, roche, whence our Roach. 

Ring, a circular enclosure for bull-baiting, &c. 


^ , r corruptions of road. 

Modes, J ^ 

Rodd, Rode, Royd, an obsolete participle of ' rid/ 
meaning a ^ridding/ or forest grant. It sometimes 
occurs in the last form as an addition to the name of 
an early proprietor, or to the names of the trees cleared, 
as Ack-royd, Hol-royd, &c. 

Roive, a street ; in Scotland, a raw, whence Rawes, 

Ross, a heath (Brit. ' Bhos^), peat land, a morass ; 
also a promontory. 

Rye, a bank or shore. Atte Rye became Try. 
Perhaps from the town of this name in Sussex. 

Sanctuary, This name may have been borne, pri- 

LOCAL. 83 

marily^ by a criminal who had ^ taken sanctuary^ in 
some privileged place. 
Sale^ Sales, a hall. 

** Sone they serabled in sale 
Bothe kynges and cardenale." MS. Lincoln, A. i. 

Sand, whence Sands and Sandys. 
Sea, originally At Sea. 
Shaw, a small wood or copse, 

" In somer when the shaives be sheyne, 
And leves be large and long, 
Hit is fulle mery in feyre foreste 

To here the foulys song." MS. Cantab. Ff. v. 48. 

Shallow, a ford. 

Shank, the projecting point of a hill connecting it 
with the plain. 

Shiel, originally a temporary hut for shepherds, 
(q. d. ' shield/ i.e. against wind and rain) ; afterwards 
applied to fixed habitations. 

Shore, the sea-side. — In London, and in the West 
of England, this is the vulgar pronunciation of sewer. 

Sike (whence Sykes), a small rill, a spring, a wa- 

Skell, '^a well in the old Northern English. ^^ (Camd.) 

Slade. Many significations are attached to this word, 
viz., a valley, a ravine, a plain, a breadth of green land 
in plantations or ploughed fields, a small open hanging 

" It had been better of William a Trent 
To have been abed with sorrowe, 
Than to be that day in the greenwood slade, 

To meet with Little John's arrowe." Robin Hood. 

" And how he climbeth up the bankis, 
And falleth into sladis depe." Goiver. 

Slack, low ground, a gap or pass between two moun- 
tains or hills. 


" They took the gallows from the slack, 
They set it in the glen, 
They hang'd the proud sheriff on that, 

ReleasVl their own three men." Robin Hood. 

Slonk, a hollow place (A.-S. ^Slog^). Applied on the 
South Downs to the little branch valleys communicating 
with a combe. 


SpencBj a yard or enclosure; a buttery. 

Spring, a well. 

Spiy^e, Spires, a steeple. 

Steele, locus, a place. 

Strand, the sea-shore, or the bank of a river. 

Street, The French have De-la-Rue, the Italians 
Strada. Stonestreet, Stanistreet. 

Strood, Stroud, ''t\\Q bank of a river, as some doe 
think.^^ (Camd.) Baxter makes it ^Strawd;^ that is, 
^Ys-trawd/ the lower traject. 


Stead (A.-S.), a farm-house and offices; a standing- 


Stile, Styles, ^W. atte Stighele.' Sussex, 1296. 

Stock — of a tree, I suppose, though its adoption as 
a name is not easily accounted for. There are similar 
names elsewhere. Zouch and Curzon (Fr.), mean, re- 
spectively, the trunk of a tree and the stem of a vine. 

St owe. Stoke, Stokes, a place. 

Stone, Steane. Given first to some one whose residence 
was near a Druidical, or other remarkable stone.* 

* Since the above was written, I find the following in M. de Gerville's 
Essay on Norman Names. " Les pierres meme n'echappent pas a nos 
nomenclatures. Le nom de La Pierre, chez nous, remonte parfois aux 
pierres driddiqucs." 




Temple. The preceptories of the knights-templars 
were often called Hemples/ Hence this name^ as well 
as Templeman. 

Tern or Dern, a standing pool. 

Thorn, the tree, or perhaps ' Thurn_,^ a tower. 

Thorpe (A.-S.), a village. 

Thwaite, land reclaimed from a wood or forest; a 
rough marshy ground; a pasture. 

Toft, ^'a piece of ground where there hath heen a 
house. ^■' (Camd.) Halliwell says/ "open ground; a 
plain; a hill.'^ 

Tree, whence Attree, &c. 

The following names of trees occur as surnames: 

























to which may he added Apps, a provincial name for the 
aspen, Lind, a lime-tree, and Holm, a holly or evergreen 
oak. The French have several names of the same 
kind, some of which have been introduced into England, 
as Coigners, a quince- tree, Cheyney, an oak. 

Toll, a small grove of lofty trees. 

Torr, a tower, or rather a castle-like, though uncas- 
tellated, hill or crag. 

Tourelle (Fr.), a diminutive of tower ; a turret. This 
appears to be the origin of our names, Torell, Tourle, &c., 
though most families of these names bear canting arms 
of buUs^ heads, allusive to 'taureau,' a bull. 


Tower J Towers, 


Townsend, Townshend. At the end of the town, 
^Atte Tunishend/ 

Tune (A.-S.), an enclosure. 


Twitten is a Sussex provincialism for a narrow alley 
or entry. *^Ascelota atte Twytene^ occurs in that county 
in 1296. 

Vale. The French have Duval, Dellavalle, &c. 

Vennell, a gutter, a sink (Halliw.) Venella, accord- 
ing to Du Cange, is viculus, angiportus, via strictior, 
more properly speaking, a passage or alley that had a 
gate annexed.* 

Venables. This name appears to be a slight modi- 
fication of the Fr. vignobles, vineyards. 


Wade, a meadow; a ford. 

Wall, Walls. 

Wake or Werk, some work or building. 

Warre7i, a colony of rabbits. This is also a Norman 
local name. 

Water, Waters; also Attwater and By water. 


Weir. In Scotland there is a family called Dur- 

Welter (A.-S. ^Wellere'), a hollow or gulf (sinus.) 

Wells. 'M Weir became Twell. 

Wick (whence Wicks and Wiw), a hold or place of 

* Gent. Mag., March, 1830. 

LOCAL. 87 

defence ; Halliwell says, ^ a bay, small port, or village 
on the side of a river. 

Woldj a hill destitute of wood. 

Wood [Woods, Attwood, Byivood, Underwood, Ne- 

Worth. Who shall decide -when etymologists dis- 
agree? No less than six origins have been found for 
this little word, which has been made to stand for a pos- 
session, a court, a farm, a place, a fort, and an island ! 
A very worth~j subject for the etymologist.* 

Whitaker, To this word Bailey assigns this some- 
what unintelligible definition: ^^The north-east part of 
a flat or shore; the middle ground." Qu. white-acre? 

Wyche, a salt work, a salt spring. 



Yate, Yates, old word for gate. 

Before leaving this subject I must observe — what the 
reader will probably have noted — that many of these 
names of locality bear very different acceptations in 
different districts. In proof of this remark I will cite 
a short passage from the late Dr. Hamilton's [miscalled) 
'^ Nug(B Literarise.'^t After expatiating upon the 
copiousness of the English language, the author says: 

^'^The Saxon, which is the foundation of our language, 
often presented a great discrimination, and this is proved 
in the names which it gave to places. Combe, is a valley, 
or rather gorge, between two hills, and where there is 

* The family of names ending in -with, as Beckwith, Skipwith, Sand- 
with, Sec, prohably corrupt that syllable from v)orfh. 
t On Correlates and Synonyms, p. 390. 


a wood. C lough, is a wooded valley, or rather hollow, 
by the road-side. Slack, is a valley stretching beneath 
a precipitous range. Firth, is a very retired, Shaw, is 
a well-wooded, glen. Den, is a valley that is very deep. 
Here, with the appearances of synonyms, are real dis- 
tinctions. Once more: Hope, is a small stream; 
Thwaite, a rivulet; Fleet, an gestuary; Gool, a canal; 
Wath, a ford; Burn, a runnel; Hithe, a landing-place; 
Slke, a waterfall; Holm, contiguity to water. Much 
circumlocution would be required to express these shades 
of meaning in any other tongue. A third series may 
be arranged: Holt, a hill; Fell, a wild upland; Wold, an 
undulating country; Knoll, a small but sudden rise; 
Ness, a head-land overhanging the sea, or a mountain 
near it.^^ 

Dr. Hamilton's field of observation is Yorkshire, — 
but the topographical terms there extant apply in other 
districts to places of a materially different character. 
For example, in Sussex, many of the Combes, with 
which the county abounds, have no ivood near them. 
Out of Yorkshire, a Firth is often a water rather than 
a '^retired glen;' and in the south of England a ^glen' 
is not a necessary feature in the Shaw. In many places 
a Hope is anything but a ^stream,' and a Thwaite any- 
thing but a 'rivulet.' The same remark applies, in a 
more limited sense, to several other expressions in the 

From these trivial topographical words, and many 
others of a similar kind which must have escaped our 
notice, did numbers of our ancestors borrow their family 
names; short, and generally monosyllabic, they were 
well suited to the plain, hardy, Anglo-Saxon race who 
assumed them; and well adapted to distinguish that race 
from their Norman oppressors : a distinction now happily 



merged^ so that we cannot say with an antient poet 
of ours — 

'* (3i t1)t ^orman^ htt\) t\)t^t !)i2^ nunne, tijatbeof tijpsilontr, 
flnU ti)t \oh)t menne of ^axoni^/^ ~ 

Some names of this class had the termination er or 
MAN attached to them: thus 

From Beck was 

f^)rmed Bechnan. 


,j Bourner. 


„ Bridger and Bndgman. 


J, Brooker. 


yj Castleman. 


„ Croucher and Crouchman 


„ Cliurcher and Churchman 


„ Demnan. 


,y Fenner. 


„ Fielder. 


,, Furlonger. 


,, Grover. 


J, Heather and Mother. 


,, Hotter and Hottman. 


„ Holder. 


,, Hoper. 


,y Kirkman. 


yj Knapper. 


,y Laker and Lake man. 


„ Lower {?) 


„ Marshman. 


„ Moorman. 


y, Plainer. 


y, Parkman. 


,y Pittman, 


yy Ponder 



From Rayne was fc 

>rmed Rayner. 

Ridge , 

, Ridger and Ridgman 

Ross , 

, Rosser. 

Rye , 

, Ryman. 

Slade , 

, Slader. 

Street , 

, Streete7\ 

Stile , 

, Styleman. 

Stock , 

, Stocker. 

Stone , 

, Stoner. 



Town , 

, Towner. 

Wych , 

, Wicker or Witcher. 

Of the very picturesque name Crosiveller I do not 
know the origin, unless it has been derived from the 
residence of the first bearer, near such a spot as that 
described in Marmion— 

" A little fountain-cell, 
Where water, clear as diamond spark, 

In a stone bason fell. 
Above, some half-worn letters say — 

*iin'ufe . fajear^ . pilgrim ; tJrtnfe . ^ . prag . 
dTor . X\)z . feintf . ^oul . of . ^^h\\ . (^nv . 

Wells of reputed sanctity were often ornamented with 
an image of the patron saint, and with a cross. The 
primitive Crosiveller may have been the custodian of 
such a sacred fountain. 

Several other names similarly formed are referable 
to occupations, and will therefore be enumerated in a 
future chapter ; such are Miller, Parker, Forester, &c. 

Before leaving Local Surnames, I must mention such 
as are derived from apartments in houses, and which 

LOCAL. 91 

were, most likely, first given to menial servants who 
served in the respective rooms. Like the foregoing, 
they generally occur in old records in the form of JoMi 
Vthe Kitchen, William atte Chamber, &c. Jorden de 
la Sekestrie (sextry), and Ricard. dict^ atte Parlour, 
occur in the fourteenth century among the records of 
Lewes Priory : J. atte Lote (loft,) in a subsidy roll of 
1296. Besides these we have Garret,^^ Buttery, and 
Stair, and Camden says Sellar, which I have never seen. 
Chalmers is the Scottish form of Chambers; and Hall is 
otherwise accounted for. (p. 73.) Drawbridge was 
probably given to the porter of some old moated man- 
sion, and Cullis may be an abbreviation of Port-cullis. 
To these may be added Chimney. 

Thus, gentle reader, I have, in humble sort, set forth 
the origin, antiquity, and varieties of that branch of our 
family nomenclature borrowed from the names of places, 
and if thou hast found aught of gratification in my lucu- 
brations I am satisfied: if not, close the book; thy taste 
and mine concur not. I quarrel not with thee, and 1 
trust that thou wilt exercise like forbearance with me, 
recollecting that — "De gustibus non disputandum est,^' 
— "and soe I bid thee right heartilie farewel." 

* A facetious correspondent suggests that * Garret' maybe a translation 
of Atticus ! 



In the illustration of Local Surnames in the fore- 
going chapter, I have confined myself to a few examples, 
unwilling to encumber my pages, as I might have done, 
with many thousands of names taken from the towns, 
villages, and hamlets of England. No reader would 
thank me for presenting him with a transcript of the 
Villare Anglicanum, which must have been the case had 
I achieved the laborious task of collecting a list of all 
the local surnames extant. 

When the name of a family coincides with that of a 
place, it will be safe, as a general rule, to conclude that 
the surname was borrowed from the locality, and a 
reference to a topographical dictionary of England will 
solve many a problem in regard to family nomenclature. 
It may not be amiss, however, to furnish a few ob- 
servations to enable the general reader to trace the 
origin of many names of this class. 

It will be necessary to premise, that as Britain has 
been successively occupied by various races of people, so 
each race has stamped upon its localities proper names 
borrowed from its own lano^uas'e. Hence the existing 
local nomenclature, though derived for the most part 
from the Anglo-Saxon or primitive English tribes, com- 
prises a few words from other sources, Celtic, Roman, 
Danish, and French. I speak, of course, of England, 
for Wales and the Highlands of Scotland borrow most 

LOCA.L. 93 

of their names from tlie Celtic tongue, and with these 
we have very little to do. 

The earliest and most obvious mode of naming places, 
is the conferring upon them of appellations answering 
to their nature and situation in the language of the 
respective occupants. In the Celtic dialects, for in- 
stance, Glynde means a vale, Comb (cwm) a deep valley, 
and Caburn (caer-bryn) a fortified hill. All these occur 
in Sussex. In the Latin, Castrum is a fortified station : 
this word, corrupted by the Saxons to ^ceaster^ or 
^chester,^ is common as a termination to many English 
towns. In the Anglo-Saxon, Ley and Tun mean a 
field and an enclosure. In French, Malfosse stands 
for a dangerous ravine, and Beaulieu for a pleasant 

Sometimes the name of a place describes its situation, 
or some peculiarity, in a word or phrase taken from the 
existing language, as Hull (hill) Poole,*' Newhaven, 
Newcastle, Bishop^s Stoke. 

Another, but a very limited, number of places, bear 
names derived from some transaction which has occurred 
in them. Battel in Sussex is an eminent example of 
this species. Lichfield, Hhe field of corses,^ is another. 

Some places bear the names of antient possessors, as 
^Ifriches-tune, now Alfriston, Clappa-ham, now Clap- 
ham, Cissan-ceaster, now Chichester; literally, ^Ifrick^s 
enclosure, Clappa^s home, and Cissa^s fortress. So like- 

* M. de Gerville observes, that most of the original names of places in 
Normandy are simply words of description, " often signifying merely rivers, 
mountains, or rocks, without addition ; for example, Vire, the name of a 
town, and Ver, that of two communes, in Lower Normandy, mean ' river,' 
or the ' water side ;' Abrant, the antient name of Avranchcs, means nothing 
else but the embouchure of a river, from 'Aber,' mouth, and 'ant,' 


wise in Normandy^ Foucarville, Barneville, the town or 
residence of Fulcard, of Bernard^ &c. 

Many take their designations from the rivers on 
which they standi as Exeter, on the Exe, Plymouth, on 
the Plym, Yarmouth, on the Yare, Cambridge, on the 
Cam, Axminster, on the Axe. One very unimportant 
little river in Dorsetshire called the Piddle gives names 
to the following parishes in its course, viz., Piddle- 
trenthide, Piddlehinton, Piddletown, Tolpiddle, Alf- 
piddle, and Turner's Piddle. 

The names affixed to places by the Anglo-Saxons are 
in general very descriptive, a circumstance which enables 
a person tolerably acquainted with their noble language 
to arrive at an accurate idea of their situation, or of 
some principal feature. 

The noun which denotes a locality is often combined 
with an epithet descriptive of some circumstance, quality, 
or natural production of the place. For instance, innu- 
merable places, on their first colonization by the Anglo- 
Saxons, received the generic name of tun, signifying an 
enclosure, or what the Americans would call a location .^ 
If such a place had a clayey soil it would become 
Clayton ; if it had been previously unoccupied it would 
be Neivton; if it lay in a level, meadow country, it 
would be Leighton ; if it occupied an eminence it would 
be Hilton. In like manner a thorp, or village, would 
be styled Aldthorpe, Newthor^e, or Highthor^e, accord- 
ing to the attribute of antiquity, recency, or loftiness of 
situation, proper to it. Again, Stanley would describe 
a stony field; Horslej, a field or district noted for 
horses; Ashley, a field favourable for the growth of 

The animal kingdom frequently furnishes the de- 
scription, thus: — 

LOCAL. 95 


The Ox. Oxley, Oxenden, Oxenliam. 

Horse. Horsley, Horsfield, Horsebridge.* 

Coio. Cowley^ Cowfold, Cowden. 

Sheep. Shipley, Shepscombe, Shepton. 

Ram. B/amsey, Ramslie, Ramscombe. 

Hare. Haredean, Hareford, Harewood. 

Goat. Goatley, Gotham. 

Lamb. Lambtoii_, Lamporte, Lambley. 

Fosc. Foxhunt, Foxley, Foxcote. 

Boar. Boreham, Boresley, Boarswood. 

Hart. Hartford, Harthill, Hartfield. 

Deer. Dereham, Deerhurst. 

Brock (a badger.) Brockesley, Broxbourne. 


Bird. Birdbrook, Birdham, Birdsall. 

Sivan. Swanscombe,t Swanbourne. 

Eagle. Eaglesfield, Eglesham, EaglesclifFe. 

Em (A.-S. for eagle.) Ernley, Earnsford. 

Croiv. Crowham, Crawley, Crowhurst. 

Rook, Rokewood, Rookwith, Rookhurst. 

Raven. Ravensdalc, Pcavenscroft, Ravensden. 

Finch. Finchley, Fincham, Finchdean. 

Hawk. Hawkhurst, Hawkesborough. 
Goose (A.-S.^gos.^) Gosfield, Gosden, Gosford. 

* While satisfied with the accuracy of the principle of these derivations, 
I am probably in error in particular instances ; for example, the first sylla- 
ble of this name, Horsebridge, may be the A.-S. 'hurst/ a wood, rather 
than the quadruped. 

t This however may be Suane's combe, from Suane or Sweyn, an early 


Maii}^ names of places are compounded of one or 
other of the generic terms alluded to, with a specific 
word derived from the vegetable kingdom, as : — 

Oak. Oakley, Ockham, Ockwood. 

Ac (A.-S. for oak.) Acton, A eland, Ackworth. 

Beech, Beechland, Coldbeche, Holbeche. 

Buch (A.-S. for beech.) Buckingham, Buxted. 

Box. Boxhill, Boxley, Boxgrove. 

Ash. Ashley, Ashcombe, Ashburnham. 

Elm. Elmingley, Elmgrove. 

Thorn. Thornhill, Thornton, Thornham. 

WilloiD .^\\\ow^\\)j J Willowshed. 

Alder, Aldershaw, Alderton. 

Pine. Pinehurst, Pinewell. 

Birch. Bircham, Birchenstj^ 

Hazel. Haselgrove, Haslewood, Hazelden. 

Holm. Holmwood, Holmbush, Holmstye. 

Maple. Maplested, Maplesden, Mapledurhara. 

Heath. Heathfield, Heathcote, Hetherington. 

Broom. Bromley, Bromfield, Bromsgrove. 

To enumerate the principal elements of names of 
places would be little more than to repeat the topo- 
graphical terms defined in the latter portion of the 
foregoing chapter, the majority of which not only stand 
as names of places (and, consequently, as we have seen, 
as surnames), but are likewise used in composition with 
other words. To show in what a variety of connections 
a single word of this class is found in the formation of 
place-names, I subjoin a list of those in which stone is 
a component syllable. 

Stone, Stondon, Stonebeck, Stonegrave, Stoneham, 
Stonehouse, Stoneleigh, Stonesby, Stonesfield^ Stonham, 

LOCAL. 97 

Stonton, The Anglo-Saxon orthography is Stan, 
whence Stanage, Stanborough, Stancil, Stanbridge, 
Standewick, Stanford^ Stan ground, Standish, Stanlake, 
Stanfield, Stanhoe, Stanhope, Stanion, Stanley, Stanlow, 
Stanmer, Stanmore, Staniiey, Stanningfield, Stanning- 
ton, Stansfield, Stansted, Stanthorne, Stanton, Stanway, 
Stanwell, Stanwich, Stanwix. The old English pro- 
nunciation was Stane, whence Staines, Steyning, 
Stainborough, Stainburn, Stainly, StainclifF, Staincross, 
Staindross, Stainfield, Stainforth, Stainland, Stainley, 
Stainmore, Stainton. 

Here are upwards of fifty parishes, or larger districts 
(as hundreds, &c.), having stone in some one of its forms, 
for their initial syllabla ; and the number might easily 
be increased twentyfold, were all those places adduced 
which have it in the middle or as a termination. 




•' It is not to be doubted but their ancestors have first gotten them by 
using trades, and the children of such parents being contented to take 
them upon them, after-coming posterity could hardly avoid them." — 

FTER these locall names/^ saith Master 
Camden, " the most in number have 
been derived from Occupations or Pro- 
fessions j^^ for which reason I purpose 
to make these the subject of my Sixth 
Chapter. And as some perplexity might arise in mar- 
shalling the various Surnames according to right rules 
of precedence, I shall consider it no small advantage to 
follow so skilful a herald as Mr. Clarencieux through- 
out these pages.* 

The practice of borrowing names from the various 
avocations of life is of high antiquity. Thus the 
Romans had among them many persons, and those too 

* Since the above paragraph was written, I have been partly induced to 
believe that the surnames derived from individual, fore, or, as they are 
improperly called, Christian names, are more numerous than those which 
form the topic of the present chapter. Be this as it may, I have not 
thought it worth while to disarrange the method adopted in my previous 
editions. M. de Gerville asserts that * Le Christianisme a introduit la 
moitit de uos noms de famille,' but, ? 


of the highest rank^ who bore such names as Figulus, 
Pictor, Fabricius^ Scribonius^ Salinator, Agricola, &c., 
answering to the Potters, Paynters, &c. of our own 
times. These names became hereditary, next in order 
after the local names, about the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries. Cocus, Dapifer, &c., we have already seen 
were borne by men of high rank soon after the Con- 
quest. There was, as Camden observes, no employ- 
ment that did not give its designation to one, or to 
manj^ families. As local names generally had the prefix 
DE or AT, so these frequently had le, as Stephen le 
Spicer, Walter le Boucher, John le Bakere, kc, in the 
records of the twelfth and two subsequent centuries.* 

Pre-eminent in this family of Surnames, and afford- 
ing wellnigh matter enough for a separate dissertation, 
stands S?nith, unquestionably the commonest Surname 
in use. Verstegan asks — 

** From whence comes Smith, all be he Knight or Squire, 
But from the Smith t\ia.tforgeth at the fire ?" 

— but the antiquary should have been aware that the 
radix of this term is the Anglo-Saxon ' smitan/ to 
smite, and that it was therefore originally applied not 

* In the * Chronicon Monasterii de Bello' is a list, drawn up about the 
year 1080, of the inhabitants of the then recently-built town of Battel. 
Here the tradesmen are entered only with their baptismal names, and the 
designations of their respective employments, as ... ' Goduini coci' . . 
* j^dvardi purgatoris' . . * Rotberti molendinarii,' . . ' Lamberti sutoris.' 
These are mere descriptions — not surnames. In the course, however, of 
100 or 150 years from that date, in the records of the same estaldishment, 
we meet with Surnames l)orrowed from trades written with capital initial 
letters, and either with the prefix * Le,' or without it, as in modern times, 
as Le Plomcr, Le Corduainer, Le Vanner (basket-maker) ; Snnator (phy- 
sician), Pessoner (fishmonger), Teyntner (dyer), Bottoner (button-maker.''), 
and Panedcr (a server of l)rcad). 


merely to the Cyclopean fraternity, but also to wheel- 
wrights, carpenters, masons, and smiters^ in general. 
It was in fact precisely among our ancestors what 
^ faher^ was among the Romans — any smith, forger, 
hammerer, maker, or mechanical workman. Otherwise 
it would be difficult to account for the great frequency 
of the name. 

The prevalency of this Surname, common alike to 
country and to town, to the North, the South, the 
East, the West, to peer and to plebeian, to the Old 
World and the New_, has given rise to a host of jokes 
and witticisms, good, bad, and indifferent. Some of 
these Smithiana, rescued from the ephemeral columns 
of the newspaper, may not be undeserving of a place in 
our more permanent page. 

John Smith is, par excellence, the binominal designa- 
tion most obnoxious to these sallies. Can any reader^s 
knowledge of his species be so limited as that he can- 
not immediately call to mind at least half a dozen 
individuals bearing it? "We remember,^^ says the 
editor of the Literary Gazette, " a bet laid and won, 
that a John Smith had been condemned either to death 
or transportation at every Old Bailey session during 
(we forget) two or three years !" Smith, without some 
rather unusual forename, is scarcely sufficient to identify 
a person ; and John being perhaps the commonest of 
Christian names, John Smith may safely be pronounced 
no name at all. What then shall we say of the coun- 

* Tlieword occurs in the Saxon Chronicle in a warlike sense: 

, "^f '' ■ '", ^ . \. ^, ri f f n '" Angles and Saxons 
j^'^^^^'AN'' came tp land, 

/ o'er the broad seas, 

Britain sought ; 
^ Mighty WAR-SMITHS 

\,. the Welsh o'ercame !" 


trymau who directed a letter^ " For Mr. John Smith 
at London, — with spead V' A missive addressed to 
Prester- John or the Man in the Moon would have been 
almost as likely to arrive at its destination. " Might 
your name be John Smith V asked an inquisitive New 
Englander of a stranger. ''Well, yes, it might/' was the 
reply, "but it aint by a long chalk V ' Robson^s Com- 
mercial Directory,^ for 1839, comprises a catalogue of 
no less than nine hundred and sixty-seven traders, in 
London only, bearing this ubiquitous surname, consi- 
derably more than one hundred of whom are Johns ! 
It is clear therefore that the wag who got too late to a 
crowded theatre, could not have adopted a better stra- 
tagem for obtaining a seat than that of shouting at the 
top of his voice, '' Mr. Smithes house is on fire V He 
well knew that the audience would at once undergo a 
discount of some three or four per cent. A late 
number of the Boston Post states that '^ in March last 
there was to have been a great meeting of Smiths on 
Boston Common_, to ascertain what branch of the 
family fell heir to a certain property in England — but 
the meeting was adjourned, as the common was found 
inadequate to the accommodation of the large number 
of the name anxious to attend V Perhaps the best 
piece of humour relating to this name is that which 
appeared some years since in the newspapers, under 
the title of 



" Some very learned disquisitions are just now going 
on among the American journals touching the origin 
and extraordinary extension of the family of ' the 
Smiths.^ Industrious explorers after derivatives and 
nominal roots, they say, would find in the name of 


John Smith a world of mystery; and a philologist in 
the Providence Journal, after having written some 
thirty columns for the enlightenment of the public 
thereanent, has thrown down his pen and declared the 
subject exhaustless. From what has hitherto been 
discovered, it appears that the great and formidable 
family of the Smiths are the veritable descendants in a 
direct line from Shem^ the son of Noah, the father of 
the Shemitish tribe, or the tribe of Shem : and it is 
thus derived — Shem, Shemit, Shmit, Smith. Another 
learned pundit, in the Philadelphia Gazette, contends 
for the universality of the name John Smith — not only 
in Great Britain and America, but among all kindreds 
and nations on the face of the earth. Beginning with 
the Hebrew, he says the Hebrews had no Christian 
names, consequently they had no Johns, and in Hebrew 
the name stood simply Shem or Shemit ; but in the 
other nations the John Smith is found at full, one and 
indivisible. Thus : Latin, Johannes Smithius ; Italian, 
Giovanni Smithi ; Spanish, Juan Smithas ; Dutch, Hans 
Schmidt; French, Jean Smeets; Greek, Ion Skmiton; 
Russian, Jonloff Skmittowski; Polish, Ivan Schmitti- 
wciski ; Chinese, Jahon Shimmit ; Icelandic, Jahne 
Smithson ; Welsh, lihon Schmidd ; Tuscarora, Ton Qa 
Smittia; Mexican, Jontli F^Smitli. And then, to 
prove the antiquity of the name, the same savant ob- 
serves that ' among the cartouches, deciphered by 
Bosselini, on the temple of Osiris, in Egypt, was found 
the name of Pharaoh Smithosis, being the 9th in the 
18th dynasty of the Theban kings. He was the founder 
of the celebrated temple of Smithopolis Magna.^ We 
heartily congratulate the respectable multitude of the 
Smiths on these profound researches : researches which 
bid fair to explode the generally received opinion that 


tlie great family of the Smiths were the descendants of 
mere horse-shoers and hammer-men V 

The following piece of banter, in the same style^ is 
from a newspaper paragraph of July^ 1842 : " By a 
chain of reasoning not less logical and conclusive than 
that which enabled Home Tooke to establish the ety- 
mological deduction of the word gerkin from King- 
Jeremiah^ Sir Edward Bulwer proves, in his beautiful 
prose-poem of 'Zanoni/ that the common surname of 
Smith which I had hitherto supposed to have been pro- 
fessionally derived from Tubal-Cain, or from the family 
of the Fabricii, so celebrated in Roman history, owes 
its origin, in point of fact, to the term ^ Smintheus,^ a 
title bestowed upon the Phrygian Apollo ! Sir Edward, 
following the scholiast upon Homer, assigns the name 
to one of the god^s high priests : but Strabo assures us 
that it was bestowed upon the deity himself, in conse- 
quence of his having destroyed an immense number of 
^/uivOni, or rats, with which the country was infested/^ 

Smith is probably of more frequent use as an alias 
than any other name whatever. A couple of historical 
instances may be cited. At the beginning of the 
reign of Henry IV, the head of the great family of 
Carrington, a partisan of Richard II, forsook his pa- 
ternal estate, and became a John Smith ; and when the 
quondam King of the French, Louis Philippe, abdicated 
his throne and fled for his life, he assumed the alias of 
Mr. WilUam Smith ! 

Some of the most unusual, as well as others of the 
most ordinary, Surnames, are compounds of Smith. 
It is rather curious, that although the appellations of 
the blacksmith and the ivhitesmith, both very common 
avocations, do not occur as Surnames, that of Broion- 
smithj an obsolete calling, does. The brownsmith of 


five centuries since must have been a person of some 
consideration, when the far-famed brown-bills of our 
warhke ancestors struck terror into the hearts of their 
enemies. Nasmyih is probably a corruption of ' nail- 
smith.^ The Spears7niths and Shoesmiths were respec- 
tively makers of spears and of horseshoes. Knyfesmythy 
a name occurring- in some records of the county of 
Derby, explains itself. Goldsmiths are numerous every- 
where. Arrowsmith is not uncommon, but it must 
not be confounded with Arsmith, meaning in Anglo- 
Saxon, a brazier^ from ' ar/ brass. Bucksmith is 
doubtless a corruption of * bucklesmith.'' 

" Brydel bytters, blacke-smythes, and ferrars, 
Bokell-smytlies, horse leches and gold beters." 

Cocke Lorelle's Bote. 

In the north of England a sock means a plough- 
share ; hence ' socksmith/ ludicrously corrupted to 
Sucks7nith and Sixsmiths ! I may further remark that 
Smith in Gaelic is Gow : hence M'Gowan is Smithson. 
The Gows were once as numerous in Scotland as the 
Smiths in England, and would be so at this time had 
not many of them, at a very recent date, translated 
the name to Smith. 

But leaving the Smiths and their relatives, let us 
notice the long list of English Surnames derived from 
other trades and professions. We have then the 
Masons and Carpenters^ the Bakers and Butchers, the 
Braziers and Ironmongers , the Butlers and Taverners, 
the Ca7^ters and Wagiiers/^ the Sailers and Girdlers, 
the Tylers and Slaters, the Cartwrights and Plow- 
iights, the Waimvrights and Sievewrights, the Colemans 
and Woodyers, the Boxers and Siveyers, the Taylors 

* This is from the German : it is equivalent, however, to our ' waggoner.' 


and Drapers^ the Plowmans and Thatchers/^ the Far- 
mers and Shepherds, the Cappers audi Shoewrights, the 
Chapmans-\ and Grocers, the Coivpers or Coopers, the 
Browkers or Brokers, the Cutlers and Ironmongers, 
the Wheelers and Millers, the Tanners and Glovers, 
the Oxlads and Steermans, the W^nghts and Joiners, 
the Salter s and Spicers, the Grinders and Boulters, 
the Poe/5 and Prophets, the Hedgers and Ditchers, the 
Stayners and Gilders, the Moulders and Callenders, 
the Miners and Mariners, the Spaders and Harroivers, 
the Thrashers and Mowers, the Pursers and Banckers, 
the Posts and Messengers, the Ensigns and Sargents, 
the Beemans and Honeymans, the Pilots and Caulkers, 
the Copperwrights and Staplers, the Drivers and 
Drovers, the Milliners and Collarmakers, the Bellmans 
and Paviours, the Trappers and Ginmans, the Lawyers 
and Barristers, the Scholars and Preachers, the 
Jugglers and Praters, the Stonecutters and 7)«z/- 
laborers, the Stalkers and Challengers, the Talkers 
and Laughers, the Ashburnei^s and Mustardmakers, the 
Bards and Rhymers, the Gardeners and Tollers, the 
Cardmakers and Bookers, the Armorers and Furbishers, 
the Shipwrights and Goodwrights, the Marchants and 
Breivers, the Pipers and Vidlers, the Homers and 
Drummers, the Bellringers and Hornhlowers, the M«r- 
ketmans and Fairmans, the Cooks and Porters, the 
Hosiers and Weavers, the Caterers and Cheesemans, 
the Colliers and Sawyers, the Turners and Naylors, 
(nail-makers,) the Potters and Potmans, the Hoopers 

* Thacker, and the German Decker, and Dutch Dekker, have tlie same 

t ** Chapman was formerly a seller, a c^efl^Aman, from ' chepe,' a 
market, and it is still used in this sense legally, as when we say ' dealer 
and chapman.' " — KnighCa Shakapere, 



and Hookers, the Portmans and Ferrimans, the Poti- 
carys and Farriers, the Sellers and Salemans, the Fire- 
mans and Watermans, the Plummers and Glaisyers, 
the Alemans and Barleymans, the Skinners and Woolers, 
the Paynters and Dyers, the Mercers and Bucklers, the 
TVorkmafis and Pedlars, the Boardmans and Inmans, 
the Chandlers and Pressmans, the Fiddlers and Players, 
the Rhymers and Readers, the Oast let's and Tapper's, 
the Winters and Blackers, the Grooms and Stallmans, 
the Ropers and Corders, the Twiners and Stringers, 
the Leadbeaters and Stoneliewers, to which may be 
added from the Nona Kolls — whether extmet or not I 
cannot say^ the Qiiarreours, the Sivepers, the Water- 
leders, the Lymberners and the Candlemakers. 

A very great number of words obsolete in our lan- 
guage, or borrowed from other languages, and there- 
fore unintelligible to all but philologists and antiqua- 
ries, are retained in surnames, which thus furnish the 
etymologist with many an agreeable reminiscence of 
the pursuits and manners of our ancestors. Thus 
Sutor,* is the Latin, Old English, and Saxon (sutere) 
for shoemaker ; Latimer is a writer of Latin, or as 
Camden has it *^ an interpretour/' Chaucer, like 
Sutor, signifies a member of the gentle craft. Leech, 
the Anglo-Saxon (laece) for physician, is still partially 
retained in some parts of the country in ^^ cow-leech,'' 
a business usually connected with that of the farrier. 
Henry the First, according to Robert of Gloucester, 

" — OTillctr of a Inmprn)c to tit, 

But I)t£l S-fdjciS Ijim beiiictff) bov j)t iuas' a Uhlt nute.** 

* The native of Lancashire and the lover of Scottish song will under- 
stand the meaning of this term without my aid. Soutar, Soivter, Shuter, 
and Suter are only variations of the same name. 


TJiwaytes, according to Verstegan^ means a feller of 
wood, an etymology supported by the A.-S. verb 
^ thweotan/ to cut, exscindere. Barker is synonymous 
with Tanner. In the dialogue between King Edward 
the Fourth and the Tanner of Tamworth, in Percy^s 
Reliques, we have the following lines : 

" What craftsman art thou, said the King, 
I pray thee telle me trowe ? 
I am a Bay^ker, Sir, by my trade, 
Now tell me, what art thou ?" 

Jenner is an old form of joiner, Bowcher of butcher, 
and Milner of miller.. A Lorimer is a maker of bits 
for bridles, spurs, &c. There is or was a " Lorimers' 
Company" in London. An Arkwriyht was in old 
times a maker of meal-chests, an article found in every 
house when families dressed their own flour. Turner 
is an anglicised form of Fournier (French), a man 
who keeps an oven or four, a baker, (a baker is still 
called a fourner in some parts of Kent) ; Lavender of 
Lavandier, a washerman ; [Launder and Lander are 
further contractions of the same word) ; and Pallinyer 
of Boulanger a baker. A Pargiter is a plasterer : the 
terms ^ pargetting^ and ' parge-work^ are of common 
use in medieval documents in the sense of ornamental 
plastering : 

'' Some men wyll have their wallys plastered some 
pergetted and whytlymed, some roughecaste." 

Hormani J 'ulgaria quoted in Gloss, of Architecture. 

A Daivber is also a plasterer, but probably for a 
plainer part of the trade. A ^ wimple^ was a kind of 
tippet or kerchief for the neck and shoulders of four- 
teenth-century ladies ; hence Wympler. Webbe, Webber, 
(and Weber from the German,) are equivalent to 


weaver ; a Sayer is an assayer of metals ; Tucker, a 
fuller ; and Shearman one who shears worsteds, fustians, 
&c. — an employment formerly known at Norwich by 
the designation of ^' shermancraft f'^ Banister is the 
keeper of a bath ; a Pointer was a maker of ^^ points/' 
an obsolete article of dress ; and a Pitcher a maker of 
pilches, a warm kind of upper garment, the great-coat 
of the fourteenth century ; hence Chaucer : 

♦* After gret hete cometh cold, 
No man cast his j)ylch away/'f 

Kidder and Kidman are obsolete words for huxter, 
(Goth, ^^iyta," to deal, hawk), Hellier for tyler, slater, 
or thatcher, (A.-S. helan,) and Crowther (and Croivder) 
for one who plays upon the crowd, an antient stringed 
instrument, the prototype of the modern violin, called 
in Welsh crivth, and in Irish cruit. Spenser, in his 
Epithalamion, has 

** The pipe, the tabor, and the trembling croudP 

A Conder was a person stationed on the sea-shore to 
watch the approach of the immense shoals of pilchards 
and herrings, and give notice thereof to the fishermen 
by certain understood signals, it being, singularly, a 
fact, that those migrations cannot be perceived at sea, 
although from the shore they appear literally to darken 
the deep. In Cornwall these men are called Hewers 

* "As for the cloth of my ladies, Hen. Cloiighe putt it to a shereman 
to dight, and he sold the cloth and ran away." — Plumpton Cor., Camd. 
Soc. p. 30. 

t The A.-S. pylche, whence Pilcher, is equivalent to our (or rather to 
the French) pelisse, which is derived immediately from the Latin pellis, 
pellicum, skin or fur. A pilcher was also a scabbard, as being made of 
hide or leather. Mercutio says to Tybalt, " Will you pluck your sword 
out of the pilcher by the ears ?" 


(a name probably derived from the A.-S. eawian, to 
show), and hence the surnames Heiver, Huer, and Ewer. 
A Ridler was a maker of sieves ; a Wait is a minstrel ; 
a Fricker (A.-S. 'fricca^), a crier or preacher; a Tranter, 
a carrier; and a Footman, a messenger. 

In the north of England a " hack^^ means a mattock 
or axe ; hence Hackman is possibly either the maker or 
the user of such an implement. Crocker (and perhaps 
Croker) means, a maker of coarse pottery. The word 
' crock/ in the provincial dialects of the south, signifies 
a large barrel-shaped jar. It was in general use in 
Chaucer^s days : 

** Spurn not as doth a crocke against a wal." 

Maunder (from the Old Eng. verb ' maund/ to beg,) 
is beggar, and Card, a word still in use in Scotland, 
means a travelling tinker ! ' Napery^ is household 
linen ; hence Napper probably stands for a manufacturer 
or seller of that article. Seamer is the A.-S. for tailor, 
and Lomer for a maker of ' lomes^ or tubs. Fortner is 
believed to mean a combatant in a tilting match, from 
the old English ' fortuny,^ a tournament — the issue of 
such conflicts being very much dependent upon fortune 
or chance. Sanger is singer. Monger (A.-S. mancgere 
and monger) is merchant. The monger of Saxon times 
was a much more important personage than those who, 
in our days, bear the name. He was the prototype of 
the merchant- princes of the nineteenth century ; he was 
a dealer in ma7i7j things (unde nomen) which his ship- 
men brought from many lands ; but our modern mon- 
gers, be they Ironmongers, Cheesemongers, Fellmongers, 
Woodmongers, or Icemongers (?), traffic chiefly in a 
single article. All these compounds stand, I believe, 
as surnames, but Horsemonger, Newsmonger, Match- 


monger, and Costardmonger, (i. e. a dealer in apples,) 
have never been used as sucli. 

Tyerman and Tireman probably mean a maker of 
ornaments for tlie bead; tire being, as Johnson sup- 
poses, a corruption either of ' tiara' or of ' attire/ 

" On her head she wore a tire of gold, 
Adorned with gems and ouches." Spenser. 

** Round tires like the moon." Isaiah, c. iii, v. 18. 

' Tirewoman,' an obsolescent word, meaning one 
whose business it is to make dresses for the head, is re- 
tained by Johnson. Perhaps, however, the TyeruA^ 
of olden times was no man-milliner, but followed the 
more masculine occupation of making ready the furni- 
ture of the battle-field : 

" Immediate sieges and the tire of war, 
Rowl in thy eager mind." Philips. 

Limhunter has cost me conjectures not a few. An 
ingenious correspondent suggests the two following 
etymons : 1 . Lone, solitary, having no companion — one 
who hunted by himself. 2. Loon, Icelandic ' lunde,' 
a sea-fowl of the genus Colymbus — a hunter of that 
species of bird. I confess that it would have been more 
satisfactory had my correspondent identified lunovlund 
with some quadruped bearing such trivial or provincial 

Shipster is the Anglo-Saxon ^scip-styra,' ship-steerer 
or pilot. 

'* Gogle-eyed Tomson, shepster of Lyn." CocJce Lorelle's Bote. 

Comber, Camber, and the feminine form Kempster, 
are from 'came,' and 4iembe,' old forms of comb, and 
are synonymous with Coomber, a wool-comber. Carder, 
Toivzerj and Tozer, point to another branch of the 


same craft: ^ toze^ and ^ towse^ are synonymous with 
tease : 

'' Upon the stone 

His wife sat near him ^eas^w^' matted wool, 

While from the twin cards tooth'd with glittering wire 

He fed the spindle of his yoimgest child." 

To ^toom^ is to take wool off the cards — hence 
Toomer ; a ' slay^ is an instrument belonging to a loom, 
whence Slaymaker. A Blower, sometimes corrupted to 
Blore, was the man who superintended the blast at a 
furnace. A Raper is a ropemaker ; a Tupman a breeder 
of rams, called in some places ^ tups -,' and a Tilman a 
farm-labourer : ^ Note^ in the North signifies oxen or 
neat cattle : hence Notman, which might appear to 
belong to a coward, really denotes a coivherd I Vacher 
is certainly a cow-keeper. Akerman is the A.-S. ^secer- 
mon/ a fieldman or husbandman; Flatman, ^flot-mon/ 
a sailor; Firman, ^ferd-mon/ a soldier; and Bcore is 
probably the ^sceawere/ beholder, spectator, or spy, of 
the same language. In the fourteenth century the 
jurats of Pevensey, co. Sussex, were called ^ skawers,^ 
in the sense of overseers or superintendents of the 
marshes. A Tasker is a thrasher, and occurs in that 
sense in the fifteenth century, — ' Triturator, a tasker.^ 

Tubman, Tupper, and Dubher are probably synony- 
mous with the Germ. ^Taubmann,^ a maker of tubs. 
' Daube^ in that language is a stave used in making 
tubs, and to 'dub,^ a piece of wood, in the language of 
our shipwrights and coopers, means to fashion it with 
an adze. 

Putter, Potter, and Poutter are the original and true 
forms of poulterer (to which, as in the cases of fruiterer, 
upholsterer, &c. an extra -er has been added). In the 


directions to the Lord Mayor of London for the re- 
ception of the suite of Charles Y when he visited 
Henry VIII^ appears this_, 

" Item, to appoynt iiij pulters to serve for the said persons of all maner 

and the same king incorporated a "Poulters^ Company/^ 
Cramer is German (kramer), and signifies a retail 


A ^cade^ is a cask; hence Cadman is a maker of cades 

or kegs. Cade^ in this sense, was used in Shakspeare^s 

days : 

" Cade. We John Cade, so termed of our supposed father." 
" Dick. Or rather of stealing a cade of herrings /" 

Hen. VI. Act iv, Sc. 2. 

In the same play we have an illustration of the 
name >S/ie«rma?ij before mentioned (page 108). George 
Bevis loquitur : 

" I tell thee. Jack Cade the clothier means to dress the commonwealth 
and turn it, and set a new nap upon it." Act iv, Sc. 2. 

Stafford (to Cade.) 

" Villain, thy father was a plasterer, and thou thyself a shearman, art 
thou not ?" 

' Aledraper/ a cant term applied to the keeper of an 
alehouse, is probably of too modern date to have become 
a family name, yet we have the equally ridiculous de- 
signation, Alefounder. A Batcher is a maker of sacks 
or satchells, and a Kilner is a man who attends a fur- 
nace or kiln. A ' slop^ is a kind of cloak or mantle, 
also a buskin or boot much used in the fifteenth cen- 
tury — hence Sloper.^ 

* The modern s^ojo-seller, or dealer in ready-made clothes, probably 
owes his designation to this source. 


As a general rule^ all names terminating with er 
indicate some employment or profession, er is un- 
questionably derived from tlie Anglo-Saxon ^ wer^ or 
' were^ a man 3 hence Salter is Salt-m«/^, and Miller, 
MJiM-riian. These terminations er and man are often 
used interchangeably; thus we have Potter and Pottman, 
Tiler and Tileman, Carter and Cartman, Wooler and 
Woolman^ cum multis aliis. Besides these, w^e have 
Horseman, Palfriman, Coltman, Padman (a ^ pad^ was 
an easy-paced nag)_, Wainman (corrupted to Wenman), 
Carman, Coachman, Boatman, Clothman, Seaman, Tub- 
man, and Spelman, which, Camden says, means learned 
man/ but which, I should rather say, signifies a man 
who worked by ^ spells^ or turns with another, if indeed 
it be not intended for a necromancer, charmer, or 
worker of spells. 

Tha ongunnon lease men wyrcan * spell.' 

Then began false men to work spells. Boet. 38, i. 

I may add, however, that ' spelman' is the Swedish, 
and ^ speilmann' the German, for a wandering musi- 
cian, while ^ spielman' in the Scottish dialect means a 
climbing man. 

A ' spilF is a spindle or a lath; hence Sjnller, Speller, 
and Spillman may be makers of spindles or makers of 
laths. The latter business, it may be observed, still 
maintains its existence as a separate branch of employ- 
ment in some districts. 

One of the most singular features in this department 
of our family nomenclature is the existence of several 
surnames terminating in -ster, which is the regular 
Anglo-Saxon form of feminine nouns of action, as er is 
of masculine ones. The word ^ Spinster' is the regular 
feminine of ' spinner' and not of bachelor, as Lindley 


Murray would have us suppose. BcBcestre, sangstre, 
and seamestre, are the regular feminines of bcscerey 
baker, sangere, singer, and seamere, tailor; hence it is 
evident that — 

Tapster is the feminine of Tapper. 

Baxter and Bagster Baker. 

Whitster „ "Whiter (a fuller.) 

Webster ,, Webber (weaver.) 

Kempster „ Kember (comber.)* 

Sangster „ Sanger (singer.) 

Fewster j^ Fewer (A.-S. feoh-fee) afeofee. 

Bi^etvster _,, Brewer. 

That tlie business of brewing was antiently carried 
on by women is evident from the following authorities : 
In Sir John Skene^s Borough Laws, ^ Browsters' are 
described as ^ Women quha brewes aill to be sauld.' 
^' Gif she makes gude ail/^ says an old Scottish statute, 
" that is sufficient. Bot gif she makes evill ail she 
shall pay aucht shillinges or sail be put upon the cock- 
stule, and the aill sail be distributed to the pure 
folke.^^ In the Custumal of the town of Rye we read, 
'' if a bruster, free, hath made ale, and sell it in the 
foreign, in fairs or in markets, and the lord of the soil 
will distress her against her will for the sale of the 
said ale, fec'^t 

Mr. Poulson, in his ' History of Beverley,^ observes 
that " Artificers were by statute of 27, Edw. Ill, c. 5, 6. 
tied down to one occupation with an exception of 
female brewers, bakers, weavers, spinners and other 
women employed upon works in wool, linen, or silk 

* Pec/n>, a * kempster.' Nominale MS. 
t Holloway's Rye, p. 155. 


embroidery, &c. If this act had been in the language 
of the country, the same terms would have been used 
as will frequently occur in these pages, namely 
Breivster, Baxter, Webster, &c., the termination ster 
signifying a woman (not a man) who brews, bakes, 
weaves, &c." The same learned writer thus shows 
how these names of feminine employments could be- 
come hereditary surnames : ^' When men began to in- 
vade those departments of industry by which women 
used to earn an honest livelihood, they retained the 
feminine appellations for some thne, as men-midwives 
and men-milliners do now ; but afterwards masculine 
words drove the feminine ones out of the language, as 
men had driven the women out of the employments. 
^ Spinster^ still • retains its genuine termination j and 
the language of the law seems to presume that every 
unmarried woman is employed in spinning/^* 

Dexter appears to be a feminine form — but of what ? 
Although no such word as ' daegestre' occurs in the 
Saxon dictionary, may it not be a compound of ^ daeg,^ 
* dag/ day, and the feminine termination alluded to, 
and so signify a woman that works by the day — a 
charwoman ? 

Pewtress looks like the feminine of pewterer, but I am 
not aware that this calling was ever carried on by women. 

There is a string of names derived from occupations 
which sound right oddly when placed in juxta-position, 

* Beverlac, p. 128. This curious subject deserves further illustration; 
but it belongs rather to general etymology than to my special department. 
I cannot, however, pass unnoticed a singular fact in relation to the words 
younker and youngster, the former of which is the proper masculine, and 
the latter the correct /emmme. In the mutation which nearly the whole 
of this class of words has undergone, younker has been discarded from 
the vocabulary of polite persons, and degraded to a nautical vulgarism, 
while youngster has been transferred from the girl to the boy ! 


and \vliicli, prima facie, would appear to be fully as 
applicable to the equine as to the human species ; 
namely, Traveller, Walker, Ryder, Ambler, Trotter, 
Hopper, Skipper, Jumper, and Hobler ! Of these, Tra- 
veller was probably given to some one who, like 
Maundevile, had visited ^straunge contries and ilands/ 
A Trotter (synonymous with Trotman) was the run- 
ning-footman of the middle ages. So early as the 
thirteenth century we find the word latinized ^ Trotta- 
rius ;' and in some monkish statutes of the date of 1218, 
mentioned by Fosbroke, it is enjoined that " everyone 
be content with a horse and a tr otter.'' In the MS. 
romance of Aubrey the heroes valet is called his trotting 
servitor — son serjant trotier, and it is from this expres- 
sion that Taylor, the water-poet, speaks of a trotting 

Walker signifies either (A.-S. wealcere) a fuller,t 
or an officer, whose duty consisted in ' walking^ or in- 
specting a certain space of forest-ground. Rider 
means another forest officer, a superintendent (as I 
take it) of the ' walkers,^ — a ranger, who derived his 
name from the circumstance of his being mounted, as 
having a larger district to supervise. In the ballad of 
^ William of Cloudesley,^ &c. the king, rewarding the 
dexterity of the archer who shot the apple from his 
child^s head, says : — 

'* I give thee eightene-pence a day, 
And my bowe thou shalt here, 
And over all the north countre, 

I make thee chyfe rydere /"J Percy's Reliques. 

* Encyclopaedia of Antiq., voc. Running-footman. 

t In the North of England a fulling-mill is still called a ^ walk-m\\\,^ 
and at Alfrich, co. Worcester, there are some thin strata of unctuous clay 
of a whitish hue, still called "walker's clay." Ex inf. Jabez Allies, Esq. f.s.a. 

% It is worthy of remark, however, that Ryder, Lord Harrowby claims 
from Rvther in Yorksliire. 


Ambler, antiently le Amblour, is from the French, 
' ambleur/ an officer of the king^s stable. Hopper 
probably signified an officer who had the care of swans. 
By swan-^ hopping/ or ^ upping/ was meant the search- 
ing for and marking of the swans belonging to parti- 
cular proprietors. It must not be forgotten, however, 
that the A.-S. hoppere means a dancer. Skipper 
(A.-S. scipere, a sailor) is a very ancient term for the 
captain or master of a vessel ; Jumper possibly meant 
a maker of ^jumps,^ that is, a kind of short coats or 
boddices for women ;* while Hohler is most unques- 
tionably a contraction of ' hobbelar^ or ^ hobiler,^ a 
person who by the tenure of his lands was obliged to 
keep a hobby or light horse, to maintain a watch by the 
side of a beacon, and to alarm the countryt in case of 
the enemy^s approach in the day-time, when the fire of 
the beacons would not be discernible from a distance. 
It would seem also that the term was sometimes used 
to signify persons of an equestrian order, lower in 
dignity than knights, and probably mounted on meaner 
and smaller animals. In an antient romance we read 

** Ten thousand knights stout and fers (fierce) 
Withouten hobelers and squyers." 

The etymology of Dancer is sufficiently obvious ; 
the first of that name doubtless possessed peculiar skill 
in the art saltatory. Perhaps, after all, the names 
Hopper and Jumper were acquired by proficiency in 
the gymnastic exercises to which at first sight they 
seem to refer. 

Massenger is an evident corruption of the French 
^ messager,^ a messenger, a bearer of despatches, &c. 

* Bailey's Dictionary. f Fenu's Paston Letters. 


Pottinger is the Scottish for apothecan^,* and Lardner 
is an obsolete word for swine-herd, or rather a person 
who superintended the pannage of hogs in a forest- 
Names of the foregoing description, however mean 
in their origin, are now frequently found among the 
highest classes of society. The names Collier and 
Salter are, or have been, in the British peerage, 
although those occupations were once considered so 
menial and vile that none but bondmen would follow 
them. Some names of this sort have been changed in 
orthography to hide their original meanness ; " molli- 
fied ridiculously,^' as Master Camden hath it, ^' lest 
their bearers should seem vilified by them/^ Carteer, 
Smeeth, Tayleure,t Cuttlar, &c., are frequently met 
with as the substitutes of Carter, Smith, Tailor, and 
Cutler. " AVise was the man that told my Lord Bishop 
that his name was not Gardener as the English pro- 
nounce it, but Gardiner, with the French accent, and 
therefore a gentleman ''% 

Some names have reference to military pursuits, as 
Ar blaster,^ Hookman, Billman, Spearman, Bowman, 
Banner man. 

The number and variety of surnames connected with 
the pleasures of the chase furnish evidence of the pre- 
dilection of our progenitors for field-sports. Thus we 
have in great abundance our Hunters, Foivlers, Fishers, 
Falconers, (Faulkner s, and Fawkeners,) Haivkers, Anglers, 
Warreners, Bowyers, and Bbwmakers, Stringers, that is 

* Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary. 

t A Mr. Taylor who had by " ridiculous mollification" become Mr. 
Tay/ewre, once haughtily demanding of a farmer the name of his dog, the 
honest son of the soil replied, " Why, sir, his proper name is Jowler, but 
since he's a consequential kind of puppy, we calls him Jouleure T^ 

X Camden. § Vide infra. 


bow-string makers, Arrow -smiths, Fletchers (from the 
Fr. ^ fleclie^), that is_, either an arrow-maker, or more 
generally, a superintendent of archery. But some of 
these may be official names, and, therefore, more pro- 
perly belong to my next chapter. Buchnaster, Buck- 
man, Hindman, Stagman, and Hartman were probably 
servants to the ' Parker,^ and had the care of herds of 
venison. Brockman is a hunter of ^brocks' or badgers. 
A ^ tod^ in Scotland and the North of England, is a 
fox ; hence Todhunter is a foxhunter, though not in 
the red-coated sense of that term. A northern cor- 
respondent informs me that he knows an old man, a 
destroyer of foxes, who calls himself, and is called, the 
^^ Old Tod-hunter of Grapington,^^ in Craven. The 
expression " wily tod '^ occurs in the writings of 
Wycliffe.* Burder signifies a bird-catcher or fowler, 
as the following jest, written upwards of three centuries 
since, will prove : — 

" There was a doctour on a tyme, whiche desired a 
fouler, that went to catche byrdes Avith an owle, that 
he might go with hym. The byrder w-as content, and 
dressed him with bows, and set h3^m by his oule, and 
bade him say nothynge. When he saw the byrdes a 
lyght a pace, he sayde : There be many byrdes alyghted, 
drawe thy nettes, where-with the byrdes flewe awaye. 
The byrder was very angry, and blamed him greatl}^ 
for his speakyng. Than he promysed to hold his peace. 
When the byrder was in again and many byrdes were 
ah^ghted, mayster Doctour said in Latyn, Aves per- 
MULTE ADSXJNT : whcrwitli the byrdes flewe away. The 
byrder came out ryghte angrye and sore displeased, and 
saydc, that bj^his babhmge he hadtwj^se loste his pray. 

* Todman also occurs as a surname. 


' Why, tliynkest thou, foole/ quotli the doctour, ^ that 
the byrdes do vnderstand Latin ?' ^'^ 

^ Low^ is the Scottish for fire, and ^ low-bell ers^ are, 
according to Blount,t nien " who go with a light and 
a bell, by the sight whereof birds, sitting on the ground, 
become somewhat stupilied, and so are covered with a 
net and taken.''* Hence Lower is perhaps a bird- 
catcher. The Teutonic ^ loer^ is one who lays snares, 
and Loivrie in the Scottish dialect signifies a crafty 
person, in allusion probably to the same occupation. 

In the records of the Middle Ages the surnames of 
individuals are generally latinized, and the Latin ex- 
pressions seem occasionally to have superseded the ori- 
ginal English ones. Hence M creator, Tonsorj Faber, 
in this class, are still found as family names. 

Although the opinion of Verstegan, cited in the 
motto of the present chapter, is supported by the 
strongest possible evidence as to the vast majority of 
instances, it is equally certain that in a few cases 
names of trades have been given as cognomens to per- 
sons above the plebeian rank. For example, Willelmus 
Faber, a Norman monk who enjoyed the favour of 
William the Conqueror, and assisted him in the foun- 
dation of Battel Abbey on the site of the conflict which 
had given him the crown, acquired his surname from 
the following circumstance. As he was engaged one 
day with his brethren in the not very ascetic pursuit of 
hunting, the party had exhausted their arrows, and 
were fain to apply to a neighbouring blacksmith for a 
new stock of these missiles ; but the mechanic being 
unskilled in this kind of work, William seized his tools 
and presently produced an arrow of excellent work- 

* Tales and Quicke Answers, very mery, &c. 
t Law Dictionary. 


mansliip. Hence liis companions jocularly called him 
Faber, or the smithy a name which he was unable 
afterwards to lay aside.* 

The following somewhat analogous instance may well 
excite the reader^s astonishment : the surname Butcher 
was given as a title of honour. '^ Le Boucher/^ says 
Saintfoix, " was antiently a noble surname given to a 
general after a victory, in commemoration of his 
having slaughtered some thirty or forty thousand men!"t 
Horribile dictu ! — henceforward let all lovers of peace 

" One murder makes a villain ; millions a Butcher !" 


With respect to the application of the surnames 
treated of in the foregoing Chapter, we may observe that 
there was much greater propriety in making the names 
of occupations stationary family names than appears 
at first sight ; for the same trade was often pursued for 
many generations by the descendants of the individual 
who in the first instance used it. Sometimes a parti- 
cular trade is retained by most of the male branches 
of a family even for centuries. Thus the family of 

* Quod cum sodalibus venatum aliquando profectus, sagittis forte de- 
ficientibus, cum quendam fabrum hujusceraodi operis ignarum adissent, 
ipse malleis arreplis mox sagittam artificio ingenio compegit. Hinc Fabri 
nomen obtinuit. — Chronicon Monasterii de Bello. 

f Le Boucher etoit anciennement un surnom glorieiijc, qu'ou donnoit a 
un general, apres une victoire — en reconnoisance du carnage q\i'i\ avoitfait 
de trente ou quarante millehommes. — Saintfoix\ Historical Essays. 

I. 6 


Oxley, in Sussex, were nearly all smiths or iron-founders 
during the long period of 250 years. Most of the 
Ades of the same countv have been farmers for a still 
longer period. The trade of weaving has been carried 
€n by another Sussex family named FTebb (weaver) as 
far back as the traditions of the family extend, and it 
is not improbable that this business has been exercised 
by them ever since the first assumption of the term as 
a surname, by some fabricator of cloth in the thii'teenth 
or fourteenth century. But the most remarkable in- 
stance of the long retention of a particular avocation 
by one man^s posterity is in the family of Purkess, of 
the New Forest in Hampshire. The constant tradition 
of the neighbourhood states, that when William Rufus 
met his untimely end in that forest, there lived near 
the fatal oak a poor " coleman,'^ or maker of charcoal, 
who lent his cart for the purpose of conveying the 
royal corpse to Winchester, and was rewarded with an 
acre or two of land round his hut. His immediate 
descendants of the same name live there still, and yet 
carry on the same trade, without one being richer than 
another for it. This family is deemed the most antient 
in the county. [Gough's Camden.) According to a 
recent newspaper paragraph, the last representative^ of 
this antient plebeian line is lately deceased. 



LOSELY allied to the Surnames dis- 
cussed in the preceding chapter are 
those which were originally borrowed 
from dignities and offices. 

The following lists of names of this 
class are arranged according to the 
rules of precedence. 








Barron {sic)j 






Yeoman ; 

to which may be added the corrupt latinizations, 
Prinsep (princeps), and Arminger (armiger.) 





Bishop, Bysshopp, &c. 


Prior, Pryor, 

Dean (qu. local?). 




Vicar (Vickers), 


Deacon, Deakin, &c. 
Clerk, Clarke, &c.* 
Chaplin (Caplin ?), 
Friar, Fryer, Freere, 
Frere (Chaucer, passim). 

NUNN (!), 


and the latinized form, Pontifex ; to which may be 
added, Benet (now Bennett), one of the orders of the 
Catholic church, the ' exorcista,^ conjuror, or caster out 
of evil spirits, and Colet, an acolyte, the fourth of the 
minor orders of priests. " Boniface V,^^ says Becon, 
" decreed that such as were but bc7iet and colet should 
not touch the reliques of saints, but they only which 
are subdeacons, deacons, and priests.^^f Noviss (novice) 
is likewise a surname, and Lister is in all probability 
the Anglo-Saxon ' listre,^ a person who read some part 
of the church service. 

The following offices have lent their designations as 
surnames : Alderman, Bailey, Beadle, Bottler or Butler, 
Burgess, Chancellor, Chamberlayne, Constable, Castellan, 
Champion (and Ca^npion), Councilman, Catchpole, 
Forester, Falconer (often written Falconar, and still 
oftener Fawkner and Faulkner), Groome, Henchman, 

* Adam the clerk, son of Philip the scribe, occurs as the designation of 
a person mentioned in an antient record at Newcastle, 
t Way's Prompt. Parv. in voc. * Benett.' 


Legatt (i. e. legate). Mayor (with its French form 
Lemaire, send the O.^ng. Meyer), Marshall, Provost (with 
its corruption Provis), Page, Proctor, Porter, Portman, 
Ranger, Reeve (pluralized to Reeves), Steward (and 
Stewart or Stuart, by crasis Sturt ?), Sizar, Sheriff 
(with Shireff), Serjeant (corruptly Sargent), Tipstaff, 
Ussher, Warden, and Woodreeve, with its various forms 
of Woodriff, Woodroafe, Woodruff, Woodrough, and 
(probably) Woodrow, 

The names of many offices, obsolete either as to 
themselves or as to their antient designations, are re- 
tained as family names, as — 

Chalmers (Scot.)= Camerarius, chamberlain. 

Le Despenser, corruptly Spencer, a steward. Horden 
has the same import. The ancestor of the family of 
Spencer, Duke of Marlborough, was ' dispensator^ or 
steward to the household of William the Conqueror. 
Grosvenor, antiently held the office of le Gros Veneur, 
or great huntsman to the Dukes of Normandy. 

Bannerman, in Scotland, was a name of office, borne 
by the king^s standard-bearer. It was an hereditary 
post, and existed temp. Malcolm IV, and William the 

' Seneschal,^ a steward, is now vilely corrupted to 
Snashall ! 

St alter, according to Camden, is a standard-bearer. 

Foster, a nourisher — one who had the care of the 
children of great men. We have also Nurse, as a sur- 
name. Foster, however, is sometimes a corruption of 

Kempe, a soldier, especially one who engaged in single 
combat. In this sense it has been revived in the works 

* Nisbet. Syst. of Heraldry, vol. i, p. 405. 


of Sir Walter Scott. Kempes and kemperye-men for 
warriors or figliting-men occur in the ballad of King 
Estmere in Percy^s Reliques : 

" They had not ridden scant a myle, 
A myle forthe of the towne, 
But in did come the kynge of Spayne, 
With kempes many a one. 

Up then rose the kemperye-men 

And loud they gan to crye 
Ah ! traytors, you have slayne our kynge, 

And therefore you shall dye." 

A kemper is still used in Norfolk in the sense of a 
stout, hearty^ old man — a veteran. The A.-S. cempa 
has also supplied us with the surnames Camp, Champ, 
and Camper. Campion and Champion have come to us 
through the French, from the same root. The Swedish 
Kempcnfelt and the Spanish Campeador belong to this 
family. Kimber is also synonymous ; '^ kimber, enim, 
homo bellicosus, pugil robustus, miles, &c. significat/^* 

*" Bate' is conflict, contention ; and hence Bateman is 
a member of the same belligerent tribe. 

Segar and Seagar, (A.-S. sigere), a vanquisher. So 
says Verstegan ; but a Northern correspondent informs 
me that this is a provincialism for ' sawyer.' 

Wardroper, a keeper of the royal wardrobe : the 
officer bore this designation temp. Hen. VIII. 

Latimer. This name was first given to Wrenoc ap 
Merrick, a learned Welshman, who held certain lands 
by the service of being latimer or interpreter between 
the Welsh and the English ; and the name of his office 
descended to his posterity, who were afterwards ennobled 
as English peers. f The older and more correct form is 

* Sheringham. f Vide Burke's Ext. Peerage. 


latiner, one who understands Latin. Maundevile directs 
travellers to take with them " Latyneres to go with hem 
into tyme (until) they conne the langage.^^ 

Valvasour (now more generally written Vavasour), 
an office or dignity taking rank below a baron, and 
above a knight. Bracton says, "there are for the civil 
government of mankind, emperors, kings, and princes, 
magnates, or valvasours, and knights.^^ In the Norman 
reigns there was a king^s valvasour, whose duty pro- 
bably consisted in keeping ward ad valvas Regni, at 
the entrances and borders of the realm; whence the 

Arblaster, a corruption of Balistarius, one who 
directed the great engines of war used before the in- 
vention of cannon, a crossbow-man. 

** In the kernils (battlements) here and there, 
Of Arblastirs grete plentie were ; 
None armour might ther stroke withstonde, 
It were foly to prese to honde." Rom. of the Rose. 

From another form of the word — ^ Alblastere,^ comes 
the apparently absurd name Alabaster. 

Spigurnell, a sealer of writs. 

Avery. Camden places this among Christian names, 
but query, is it not the name of an office — AviariuSj a 
keeper of the birds ? The Charter of Forests (section 
14') enacts that "every freeman may have in his woods 
avyries of sparhawks, falcons, eagles, and herons.^^ But 
there is another distinct derivation of this name, for 
avery, according to Bailey, signifies "a place where 
the oats {avence) or provender are kept for the king's 

Franklin, a dignity next to the esquires and gentle- 
men of olden times, the antient representative of the 
class of superior freeholders, known in later times as 


country ^squires. Fortescue (De Legibus Anglise, c. 29) 
describes ?i franklein as "pater-familias — niagnis ditatus 
possessionibus/^ "Moreover, the same country (namely 
England) is so filled and replenished with landed menne, 
that therein so small a thorpe cannot be found wherein 
dwelleth not a knight or an esquire, or such a house- 
holder as is there commonly called 2l frankleiriy enriched 
with great possessions, and also other freeholders and 
many yeomen, able for their livelyhood to make a jury 
in form aforementioned/^* Chaucer^s description of a 
Franklin is everything that could be wished: 

"A Frankelein was in this compagnie; 
White was his herd, as is the dayesie. 
Of his complexion he was sanguin. 
Wei loved he by the morwe a sop in win[e] 
To liven in delit was ever his wone, 
For he was Epicure's owen sone, 
That held opinion that plein delit 
Was veraily felicite parfite. 
An housh older, and that a grete was he ; 
Seint Julian.t he was in his contree ; 
His brede, his ale, was alway after on ; 
A better envynedX man was no wher non, 
Withouten bake-mete never was his hous, 
Of fish and flesh, and that so plenteous, 
It snewed in his hous of mete and drinke, 
Of alle daintees that men coud of thinke, 
After the sondry sesons of the yere, 
So changed he his mete and his soupere. 
Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in mewe, 
And many a breme, and many a luce in stewe. 
Wo was his coke, but if his sauce were 
Poinant and sharpe, and ready all his gere. 

* Old Translation of Fortescue de L, L. Ang. 
f St. Julian was the patron of hospitality. 
% Envyned, that is, stored with wine. 

ornciAL. 129 

His table dormant in his halle alway 
Stode redy covered alle the longe day. 

At sessions ther was he lord and sire, 
Ful often time he was knight of the shire ; 
An anelace, and a gipciere all of silk 
Heng at his girdel, white as morwe milk. 
A shereve hadde he hen, and a countour. 
Was no wher swiche a worthy vavasour."* 

Heriot, a provider of furniture for an army. Versteg. 

Cohen, a common name amongst the Jews_, signifies 

SomneVj one whose duty consisted in citing dehn- 
quents to the ecclesiastical courts ; an apparitor. The 
office existed in Chaucer's time under the orthography 
of sompnoure, literally summoner — sompne being then 
the mode of spelling the verb. In the Coventry Mys- 
teries we have the following : 

" Sim SoMNOR, in hast wend thou thi way, 
Byd Joseph, and his wyff, be name, 
At the coorte to apper this day, 
Hem to pourge of her defame." 

Chaucer's portrait of the Sompnour is one of the best 
in his inimitable gallery. He 

"... . hadde a fire-red cherubinnes face 

With scalled browes blake and pilled herd. 
Of his visage children were sore aferd. 
[He loved] to drinke strong win as rede as blood. 
Then wolde he speke, and crie as he were wood. 
And whan that he wel dronken had the win. 
Than wolde he speken no word but Latin. 
Afew6 termes coudef he, two or three 
That he had lerned out of som decree ; 

• Canterbury Tales. Prologue. Vol. i, p. 44. Edit. 1825. 
f He knew. 



No wonder is, he herd it all the day ; 

And eke ye knowenwel, liow that ^jay 

Can clepen watte, as wel as can the pope. 

But who so wolde in other thmg hun grope,* 

Than hadde he spent all his philosophie. 

Ay, Questio quid juris, wolde he crie," &c. &c.t 

To this list of official names I may add Judge ; but 
how the word Jury became the name of a single person 
I do not pretend to guess. (On reconsideration^ ^Junf 
appears to be a corrupt spelling of Jewry, and is there- 
fore a local name. That part of a city or town inha- 
bited by Jews was formerly styled Hhe Jewrie/ as the 
Old Jewry in London. Chaucer, in his Prioresses Tale 
(14899), says : 

*' There was in Acy (Asia) in a great citee, 
Amonges Cristen folk a Jewerye, 
Susteyned by a lord of that eontre, 
For foul usure, and lucre of felonye, 
Hateful to Crist and to his compaigne : 
And thurgh the strete men might ride and wende, 
For it was fre, aud open at everich ende." 

Foreman was probably adopted by some one who had 
served on a jury in that capacity. Association of ideas 
reminds me of another important functionary, Dempster, 
the common hangman, unless indeed it signify a judge 
of the Isle of Man, as the judges of that little kingdom 
formerly bore this designation. Lochnan is a Scottish 
word for the public executioner. 

Several names end in grave, meaning a steward or 
disposer; as Waldegrave, a steward of the forest ; Mar- 
grave, a steward or warden of the marches or frontiers; 
Har grave, the provider of an army. I think, however, 
that these names were not indigenous to England, but 

* Examine. f Cant. Tales, Prologue. 


brought from Germany, where 0VUf is synonymous 
with county and ' Pfalzgraf/ whence our Palgrave, is a 
count-palatine. Grave, in Lancashire, especially in the 
disafforested districts, means a constable, and constables^ 
rates are called ^ grave-leys.-' A ' dikereeve^ or ^dike- 
grave,^ in Lincolnshire, means one who has the care of 
dikes and drains. Dykeman and Dickman probably 
signify the same official. 

Pilgrim and Palmer are neither offices nor dignities, 
yet they may find a place here. The Palmer differed 
from a common pilgrim in making a profession of wan- 
dering. The pilgrim laid aside his weed and cockle 
when his pilgrimage was done, and returned to the 
world ; but the palmer wandered about incessantly ; his 
pilgrimage was only laid aside at death. He derived 
his name from the palm-branch he constantly carried as 
a pledge of his having been in the Holy Land. In 
the church of Snodland, in the diocese of Rochester, 

was formerly an inscription to the memory of 

Palmer, of Otford, Esq. containing several puns or 
allusions to this name and profession. 

** ^Palmcr^g all olur dTatfcrsi lotrc, 
I a 5Palnur liimtJ \)nt, 
^utr trauwrtf ^till, till luorne Itjotf) age, 
If nitJDtJ i\)i^ luorltJ*£l pnlgramage. 
^n i^t bluslt HgisJention^TJap, 
h\ tl)e c!)nfiil montlj of JHag, 
^ tl^olui^anti iui)t]^ foiure !)uu"t(rr)tr, ^tmwy 
^xits toofe mi) iornc|) Ijens'e to ^.txmV 

Sir Walter Scott has given us a sketch of a palmer 
in "Marmion :" 

" Here is a holy Palmer come 
From Salem first, and last from Rome, 
One that hath kissed the blessed tomb, 


And visited each holy shrine 

In Araby and Palestine; 

On hills of Armenie hath been, 

Where Noah's ark may yet be seen ; 

By that Red Sea too hath he trod 

Which parted at the Prophet's rod ; 

In Sinai's wilderness he saw 

The Mount where Israel heard the law, 

Mid thunder-dint and flashing levin,* 

And shadowy mists and darkness given. 

He shows St. James's cockle shell ; 

Of fair Montserrat too can tell ; 
And of that Grot where olives nod, 

Where, darling of each heart and eye, 

From all the youth of Sicily 
Saint Rosalie retired to God. 

His sable cowl o'erhung his face ; 

In his black mantle was he clad ; 

With Peter's keys in cloth of red 
On his broad shoulders wrought ; 
The scallop-shell his cap did deck ; 
The crucifix around his neck 

Was from Loretto brought ; 
His sandals were with travel tore, 
Staff, budget, bottle, scrip he wore ; 
The faded palm-branch in his hand 
Shewed pilgrim from the Holy Land." 

* Levin, lightning. I have a cordial hatred of the hypercritical spirit 
which delights in preferring the charge of plagiarism against any poet who 
happens to express a sentiment in words resembling those of some pre- 
vious author ; it is not therefore out of any such feeling that I beg to call 
the attention of the reader to the striking resemblance between Scott's 

line — 

" Mid thunder-dint and flashing levin," 

and Chaucer's (v. 5858 Wright,) 

" With wilde thunder dynt and fuyry levene" — 

which is probably purely accidental. 


The origin of the name of Gear is curious. In the 
" olden tyme" great men employed an officer to super- 
intend the provision of their entertainments and the 
equipment of their armed retainers ; and, as all sorts of 
wearing apparel, arms,* utensils,_and chattels in general, 
were called gei^e or gear, this person would very natu- 
rally acquire the name oi John-of-the-Gear, John-o-Gear, 
and, at length, ./oA/z Gear. 

The termination ward indicates some office, and is 
equivalent to keeper or custos — thus Milward is the 
keeper of a mill (probably some manorial or monastic 
mill) ; Kenward, the dog-keeper, or more properly, Kine- 
ward, cow-keeper ; Aylward, the ale-keeper ; Durward, 
the porter or door-keeper ; Hayivard, the keeper of a 
common herd of cattle belonging to some town ; and 
Woodward, a forest-keeper, " an officer that walks with 
a forest-bill, and takes cognizance of all offences com- 
mitted, at the next swain-mote or court of attach- 
ments, "f Howard certainly belongs to this family of 
names, but antiquaries are not agreed as to the meaning 
of the first syllable. Camden makes it the high-ivarden; 
Spelman, the hall-keeper ; Verstegan, the keeper of a 
strong -hold ; and Skinner, a keeper of hospitality. 
What such great names cannot agree upon, I shall 
not attempt to decide. Ward also stands as a sur- 
name, as do Warden and Guard, which have the same 

Costomer, a collector of customs. 

* Thus in the old poem of Flodden Field : 

*• Then did he send Sir William Bulmer, 
And bad hym on the borders lye, 
With ordinance and other gear, 
Each fenced house to fortify." 
t Bailey's Diet. 


Granger, the superintendent of a grange — -a great 
farm pertaining to some abbey or priory. 

Portman, an officer, now called a portreeve, with 
duties similar to those of a mayor. The sessions of 
some of the older corporations were formerly called 
portmcmnimotes, or portman^s courts. 

Landseer, probably a land-steward or bailiff. 

PaUiser, a person who had the care of the palings of 
a park or forest. 

Poynder, a bailiff, one who distrains. 

The singular name of Twentyman appears to be a 
translation of Vintenarius, a military officer who had 
the charge of twenty soldiers_, as the Centenarius, his 
superior, had of a hundred. Both these terms occur 
in a muster-roll of temp. Edw. Ill, before me. 

Having given this long list of names derived from 
titles and offices, I shall next attempt to account for 
their having been adopted as the designations of families. 

That the first of the name of King, Prince, or Duke, 
held either of those dignities is too preposterous for 
belief. Nor is it more likely that the inferior titles of 
Knight and Squire were so derived, for that would 
have been a mean kind of nomenclature. If a person 
were really a knight or an esquire, he would prefer 
styling himself Sir Roger de Such-a-place, or John So- 
and-So, Esquire, to taking the simple designation of 
his rank as a surname. Again, in ecclesiastical digni- 
ties, such names if adopted could not have been perpe- 
tuated, seeing that all churchmen, from his holiness of 
Rome down to the meanest mass-priest, led a life of 
celibacy, and consequently had no recognised posterity. 

It has been conjectured, however, that these names 
indicate bastardy, and that the persons bearing them 
are thus bona fide of royal, papal, knightly, squirely, or 


priestly descent — a plausible surmise^ but the proofs 
are wanting. 

Most of these names_, particularly of the secular de- 
scription^ were probably borrowed from the first users 
of them having acted or personated such characters in 
mysteries or dramatic representations ; or from their 
having been chosen^ as Camden supposes^ leaders of the 
popular sports , of the times^ as Kings of the Bean, 
Christmas Lords, &c. The same high authority re- 
minds us that the classical antients had such names as 
" Basilius, Archias, Archelaus, Flaminius, Csesarius, 
Augustulus, &c., who, notwithstanding, were neither 
Kings^ Priests, Dukes, nor Caesars ;" though Sigonius 
thinks the Flaminii and the Pontificii descendants of 
persons who held the sacerdotal office. 

There are those who think the clerical names ori~ 
ginated from widowers, who had gone into the church 
and gained particular offices in it, having given the 
designations of such offices as surnames to their chil- 
dren. The Rev. Mark Noble thinks that such as took 
these names held lands under those who really bore 
them. This may be true of some of them, both lay 
and clerical, but it does not account for the higher 
dignities, as Pope and Emperor, which have never 
existed in this country. Of all these conjectures, 
Camden^s, although the most humiliating, seems the 
most probable. 

The French name of Archevesque (Archbishop) is 
thus accounted for. Hugh de Lusignan, an archbishop, 
becoming unexpectedly entitled to the seignories of 
Parthenay, Soubize, &c., obtained the pope^s dispensa- 
tion to marry, on the condition that his posterity should 
take the name of Archbishop, and bear, for ever, a mitre 
over their arms. 


Mr. Kemble mentions an instance of an Anglo- 
Saxon^ A. D. 653, who, according to Florence of Wor- 
cester, bore the name of Benedictus Biscop (bishop), 
but who certainl}^ never enjoyed episcopal honours. 
And Eadberht, the last trueborn king of Kent^ was 
surnamed ' Pren,^ or the priest : this personage, how- 
ever, had received ordination to the clerical office 
prior to his advancement to the regal dignity. 

None of the objections just adduced apply to sur- 
names borrowed from offices of the inferior kind, as 
Steward, Beeve, Parker, &c. ; and we have evidence 
that family names were borrowed from the offices held 
by the founders of houses. According to Carew, the 
Porters of Cornwall derived their name from the office 
of porter of Trematon Castle, antiently hereditary in 
the family under the Dukes of Cornwall. We have 
already seen that the name of Spencer originated in a 
similar manner ; but there is a more illustrious instance. 
The name of Stuart, borne for centuries by the regal 
family of Scotland and England, descended to them 
from Walter, grandson of Banquo, who in the eleventh 
century was steward of Scotland. 

In conclusion, I may remark that these high-sound- 
ing surnames are a very numerous class. Almost every 
village has its King or Prince, or at least its Knight or 
Squire. Bishops are, I think, rather more numerous 
than parish churches ; and as for Popes, it is no unusual 
circumstance to find eight or ten dwelling together in 
perfect amity, a thing never heard of at Bome, where 
only tivo have been known to set Christendom in a 
blaze ! The following humorous morceau will form an 
appropriate tail-piece to my present Chapter. 


"CrU^ COppof a jury taken before Judge Doddridge, 
at the assizes holden at Huntingdon, a. d. 1619. " [It 
is necessary to remark that " the judge had, in the 
preceding circuit, censured the sheriff for empannehng 
men not quahfied by rank for serving on the grand jury, 
and the sheriff, being a humourist, resolved to fit the 
judge with sounds at least. On calling over the fol- 
lowing names, and pausing emphatically at the end of 
the Christian, instead of the surname, his lordship 
began to think he had indeed a jury of quality] : 

^' Maximilian King of Toseland, 
Henry Prince of Godmanchester, 
George Duke of Somersham, 
William Marquis of Stukeley, 
Edmund Earl of Hartford, 
Richard Baron of Bythorn, 
Stephen Pope of Newton, 
Stephen Cardinal of Kimbolton, 
Humphrey Bishop of Buckden, 
Robert Lord of Waresley, 
Robert Knight of Winwick, 
William Abbott of Stukeley, 
Robert Baron of St. Neots. 
WiUiam Dean of Old Weston, 
John Archdeacon of Paxton, 
Peter Esquire of Easton, 
Edward Fryer of Ellington, 
Henry Monk of Stukeley, 
George Gentleman of Spaldwick, 
George Priest of Graffham, 
Richard Deacon of Cat worth. 

" The judge, it is said, was highly pleased with this 


practical joke, and commended the sheriflp for his inge- 
nuity. The descendants of some of these illustrious 
jurors still reside in the county, and bear the same 
names ; in particular, a Maximilian King, we are in- 
formed, still presides over Toseland/^* 

* History of Huntingdon, 12mo, 1824. 



F all the modes of distinguisliing an in- 
dividual (observes Salverte) " the most 
natural^ and the one which best unites 
the identity and the name of the per- 
son, is that of giving a designation 
which relates to his most conspicuous 
qualities/^ — and a truly prolific source of nomenclature 
it has been. 

In almost all countries, and in nearly every stage of 
civilization, individuals have been denominated from 
some physical quality or external peculiarity. The 
Greeks had their Pyrrhus, Chlorus, Strabo, Chryses ; 
the Romans their Candidus, Rutilus, Longus, Paulus ; 
the French their Blond, Petit, Front-de-Boeuf ; and the 
Anglo-Saxons their Micel, Swanhals, Irensida. 

So also of moral and mental peculiarities : the 
Greeks imposed such names as Agathias, Andragathius, 
Sophocles ; the Romans, such as Pius, Prudentius, 
Constans ; the Anglo-Saxons, such as Prat, Alfred, 
Godard ; and the French, such as Le Sage, Le Bon, 
Genereux, Prudent. 

These were all in their primary application strictly 
personal, though in the course of time they became. 


like the other classes already discussed^ generic and 
hereditary designations among modern nations. 

Colour and Complexion have given rise to such 
surnames as Black, Blackman, Blaunkfrount (i. e. white 
face), Browne, Dark, Darkman, Fair, Fair bairn (Scot.), 
Fair child, Fagg (A.-S. faeg), discoloured, pale, Lilywhite, 
Motley, Pink, Rufus, Rous, Russell (and the French 
Rousseau — these four mean ^ red^), Redman, Ruddiman, 
Silversides, Scarlett, White, Whiteman, and Whitesides. 
Rurple, which occurs in America, may have been ori- 
ginally applied to a devotee of Bacchus ! As no per- 
son ever had a green face (however green in other 
respects) we must refer the very common surname 
representing that colour to a local origin — ^ John atte 
Greene,^ ^ Roger a^ Green,^ &c. being among the most 
familiar designations of that class. 

The Colour of the Hair led to a numerous 
train of these hereditary sobriquets, for such they cer- 
tainly must be considered ; hence Blackhead, Blacklock, 
Fairhaire, Grey, Gray, Grissel, Hoare and Hore, Red- 
head, Silverlock, Whitelock, Whithair, Whitehead, and 

The Form of the Head has added a few ; to wit, 
Longhead, Broadhead, Gr cathead. Half head. — Grosteste 
(great-head), a famous name in English ecclesiastical 
history, also belongs to this category. Even the beard 
originated some, as Langbeard, Fairbeard, Hevyberd, 
(1296,) Blackbeard. 

But it was not from the head alone that names of 
this description were taken, for we have in respect of 
other personal qualities our Longs and our Shorts ; our 
Langmans, Longmans, and Longfellows ; our Tallmans 
and our Prettymans ; our Biggs and our Broads ; our 
Greats and our Smalls; our Strongs and our Weakleys ; 


our Petits and Smallmans; our Strongmans, StrongVW- 
arms, and Armstrongs ; our Plaines and our Hansoms ; 
our Groses, our Littles, our Thynnes, our Thicks, and 
our Lowes. These names are of a pretty positive cha- 
racter, but we have a few comparatives ; our Littlers 
and Shorters, to wit, our Plainers, our Strongers, and 
our Loivers ! 

To avoid criticism on one hand^ and misapprehen- 
sion on the other, it is right to state that some of 
the names in the last paragraph are derived with greater 
probabihty from other sources. Two or three at least 
are of the local kind, such as Plain, and probably also 
Plainer ; Littler is known to be a corruption of Little- 
over, CO. Derb}^, — a manor whose lords originally wrote 
themselves De Littleover, but who afterwards became 
Litteler and Littler, until eventually they were quite 
extinct ! Neither must we take the Thynnes as living 
witnesses of the meagreness of their original ancestor, 
who was no other than one John de Botteville. This 
gentleman, who flourished so recently as the reign of 
Edward IV, resided at one of the Inns of Court, and 
was thence named John of the Inn, John o'th'ynne^ or 
John Thynne. 

We have, moreover, our Pretty s and our Lovely s,^ 
our Larges and our Pettys, our Fatts and our Stouts, 
together with our Swifts, our Quicks, our Speeds, and 
Lightfoots, and Quicklys, well balanced by our less 
mercurial Slows and Slowmans, and our more deliberate 

There are other surnames no less characteristic ; 
though less intelligible to ordinary observers. Among 
these may be noted Starkie, strong-bodied ; Fiest, 

* ' Editha la Lovelich.' MS. Haii. 1708, fol. 21 7. 


broad-footed ; Crumpe, crooked ; Mewet, one who 
speaks inwardly ; Lizar, a leprous person ; Morphew, a 
scrofulous one ; Michel (A.-S.), great_, whence also 
Michell and Mitchell; Hale, healthful; Holder, thin 
(Camd.) ; and Fleet, swift. Bel, with le prefixed, is 
from the French, fair; and Pigot, with its varieties 
Piggott and Pickett (picote), in the same language 
means pitted with the smallpox. Car and Ker are 
synonymous, signifying stout. Wychals (A.-S.), now 
Wiggles, means ^ bad neck.' Lit and Lite are old 
English forms of 'little.' 

Snell is from the Anglo-Saxon, and signifies agile or 
hardy. " Cabmunb cmj Ipen-pb psej' jeclypob poji hij- 
8nell-]*cipe : King Eadmund was called Iron-side for his 
hardihood, agility,'' says the Saxon Chronicle. Before 
the Conquest this epithet had become a proper name, 
as had also its compound, Snelson. Basset (Fr.) signifies 
low of stature. 

To dade, in some dialects, signifies to walk with short 
steps, whence the diminutive ' daddle,' applied to the 
pace of infants. Dadd or Dade was probably given 
in the first instance to some person who had shorter 
legs than his neighbours. 

The very common surname Read, Reid, or Reed 
(sometimes pluralized to Reeds), is an old spelling of 
RED, and was primarily applied in reference to com- 
plexion. Chaucer speaks of 

" Floures both white and rede ;" 

and Sir John Maundevile, describing the Red Sea, says: 
" That see is not more reed than another see ; but in 
some places thereof is the gravelle reede ; and therefore 
men clepen it the Rede Sea." 

Fairfax, from the Anglo-Saxon, and Blound, from the 


French; denote a light hair and complexion. The 
latter name has declined into Blount and Blunt. 

Camoys is an Old English word signifying turned 
upwards ; and is generally applied to the nose in a 
sense identical with the French expression ^ nez re- 
trousse.^ Chaucer employs it in his quaint description 
of the daughter of the Miller of Trompington : 

** This wenche thikke and well i-growen was, 
"With camoys nose and eyghen gray as glas." 

Wrighfs Chaucer, 3971. 

It is sometimes written ^ camuse/ and our surname 
Kemyss may mean the same thing. 

Among the names indicative of mental or moral 
qualities^ we have our Hardy s and our Coivards ; our 
Meeks and our Moodys ; our Bolds and our Slyes ; our 
Lively s and our Sullens ; our Eager s and our Dulmans; 
our Giffords or liberal ones, and our Curteises. Cur- 
TEis appears to be an antient spelling of the adjective 
courteous. Chaucer says of his ^' yong squier^ 


" Curteis he was, gentil and affable." 
So in Percy^s Keliques : 

" And as the lyoune, which is of bestis kinge, 
Unto thy subjectis be kurteis and benygne." 

Nor must we overlook our Wilds and our Sangivines ; 
our Merry s and our Sobers; our Nobles and our 
Willeys, or favorable ones ; our Blythes and our Cleeres; 
our Sternes and our Bonny s ; our Godmans and our 
Godlimans ; our Wakes or watchfuls ; our Terrys or 
tearful ones ;* our Forwards and our Wises ; our 

* Verstegan ; a more probable derivation is from the Fr. Thierry, 


Wooralls or wortli-alls^"^ our Ayhvins, or beloved of all ; 
our Proudes and our Humbles ; our Sharpes and our 
Blunts; our Sweets and our Sweetmans, not forgetting 
our Bitters ; our Illmans and our Freemans ;t our 
Wisemans and our Booklesses ; our Stables and our 
Hasties ; our Gentles and our Laivlesses ; our Giddy s 
and our Carelesses ; our Pe7^ts, our Recklesses, and our 
Peaceables ; our >S^/2^5 and our /S/i//^ ; our Roughs and 
our Toughs ; our Sadds and our Merrymans ; our /?2- 
nocents and our Peerlesses ; our Luckies and our Faith- 
fuls ; our Tidys and our Tidymans ; our Gaudys and 
our Decents ; our Gallants and our Trusty s ; our Dear- 
loves and our Trueloves ; our Truemans and our 
Thankfuls ; our Brisks and our Doolittles ; our Dears 
and our Darlings ; our Closes and our Allfrees ; our 
Brightmans and our Flatmans ; and, to close this long 
catalogue, our Goods, % Goodmans, Goodchilds,^ Good- 
fellows, our Thoroughgoods, AUgoods, Bests, Perfects, 
and Goodenoughs, our Conquer goods, and what is very 
extraordinary indeed, our Toogoods ! 

Idle, for the honour of the family bearing it, I would 
rather deduce from the river so designated, than in- 
sinuate that the founder of that name and lineage was 
deficient in industry. 

Some names of this class, also, convey no meaning 
to the uninitiated observer, and others may even give 
rise to an erroneous impression ; for instance Gaylord 

* So Verstegan, Restit. ; but more probably from Wirral in Cheshire. 

t The name Fry is a modernized spelling of Frie, free. 

% Goad, a corrupt spelling of the 0. E. gode, good. 

§ The French likewise have Goodman and Goodson — Bonhomme and 
Bonfils. The surname of Pope Gregory XIII was Buoncompagno, good 
companion, and that of his secretary of the treasury Buonfigluolo, good 


(gaillard, Fr. gaylard^ O. E.) lias no reference to aris- 
tocratical gaieties, but means simply jovial or jolly : 

" A prentys dwelled whilom in oure citee, 
And of a craft of vitaillers was he : 
Gaylard he was as goldfynch in the schawe, 
Brown as a bery, and a proper felawe." 

Wrighfs Chaucer, 4364. 

Ramage (A.-Norman,) is wild, haggard, or homely. 
Mr. Hjilliwell says it was very often applied to an 
untaught hawk. '^ So ramage as she would be re- 
claimed with no leave.^^ (Gwydonius, 1593.) 

Lelhome is probably true or leal man ; and Follet, 
which is also French, signifies foolish. 

Leeny, according to Grose, is active, alert; hence 
Leaney and Leney. 

Stunt (A.-S.) means stupid, foolish; taken substan- 
tively it means a fool, by no means an enviable desig- 
nation, but far from applicable to all who bear it. In 
a Saxon translation of the book of Job, that patriarch 
calls his wife " stunt wif,^^ i. e. a foolish woman. 
Widmer ('wyd' wide, and ^mear^ fame, A.-S.) widely 
renowned ; Hubbard (' hughbert,^ A.-S.) disposed to 
joy and gladness ; Joyce (Fr.), the same ; Hogarth 
(Dutch,) high-natured, generous; Shire (A.-S.) clear; 
Baud, pleasant ; Rush, subtle ; Barrat, cunning ; 
Bowne, ready ; Bonner (Fr. bonaire, O. E. boner,) 
kind, gracious. Eldridge is defined by Percy as wild, 
hideous, ghostly. See a description of an " Eldridge 
knight,^^ in the ballad of Sir Cauline. Joliffe is the 
O. E. 'jolif,' jolly. 

" Up ryst i\i\ijolyf lover Absolon." Chaucer, 3688. 

To this list of names from personal and mental 
qualities, I may appropriately adjoin such as had their 
I. 7 


origin in some feat of personal strength or courage, as 
Armstrong (already mentioned), All-fraye, Langstaff, 
Wagstaff, Hackstaff, Hurlhat,^ Wmspear, Shakeshaft, 
Shakestaff, and Shakspeare, or, as Mr. C. Knight will 
have it, Shakspere. Also Box-all, Tirebvxk, Tumhull^ 
and Breakspear, which last was the original name of our 
countryman, Pope Hadrian the Fourth. 

" Harman^^ observes Verstegan, " should rightly be 
Heartman, to wit^ a man of heart or courage.^^ It 
also signifies a soldier or constable, in both which 
vocations " heart, or courage^^ is necessary. Holman 
may be ^ Wholeman,^ a man of undeniable valour — 
a man, every inch of him. Analogous to this etymology 
is that of the patrial noun Alman or German, which, 
according to Verstegan, " is as much to say as all or 
WHOLLY MAN,^^ attributed to that nation *^ in regard 
to their great manliness and valour.^^ 

In some of our provincial dialects a Dummerel or 
Dumbrell is a silent person, and Duncli means deaf or 
dull. The not very dissimilar name of Dench means, 
in the north of England, squeamish or dainty. Smelt, 
though the name of a fish, is more probably the A.-S. 
adjective signifying gentle, placid, mild. ^ To coll,' 
in the North, is to saunter, to idle ; hence a Coller is 
an idler. 

Surnames of the descriptive class assume a very 
ludicrous appearance when ranged in a list and fol- 
lowed by the baptismal name ; for example : 

Black Barnabas, Careless Eliza, 

Brown Benjamin, Godly Obadiah, 

Blunt Timothy, Long Sarah, 

Bonny Simon, Perfect Lucy, 

* Bat is an 0. E. word still used in Sussex and elsewhere for any thick 
stick or bludgeon, unde cricket-ia^. 


Proud Fanny, Sterne Nicholas, 

Pretty Jane, Smart Isabella, 

Peerless Peter, Sharp Walter, 

Savage Solomon, Wild Caleb. 

Nor is the effect much less odd with such names as 
the following : 

Bachelor Mary, Farmer Laura, 

Champion Anna, King Caroline, 

Duke Dorothy, Pope Susannah, 

Friend Jonathan, Squire Marmaduke, 

Fisher Anne, Wheeler Emma. 

But to return : Wight is strong, and Doughty for- 
midable, (A.-S. dohtig.) 

" Lordynges, lysten, and you shal here, 
You shall well heare of a knight, 
That was in warre full wyght, 
And doughtye of his dede." Dowsabell. 

Many names of Welsh or Gaelic origin, common in 
England, have similar meanings : thus. More, great ; 
Begg, little ; Roy, red ; Duff, Dove, Dow, Dee, black ; 
Bane (whence belike Baynes), white or fair; Vaughan, 
little ; Moel, or Mole, bald ; Gam, crooked ; Fane, 
slender; Grimm, strong; Gough, red; Gwynne, white; 
Greig and Gregg, hoarse ; Gleg, quick ; Balloch, spotted 
in the face. 

There are certain surnames which I have the greatest 
difficulty in assigning to any particular class. Gladman 
may have been the appropriate name originally applied 
to some jocund individual; though an esteemed cor- 
respondent suggests two other origins for it ; namely, 
1, that it is a corruption of (clad-man) clothman ; and 


2, that as ' gley^d^ or ^ gleed/ in Scotland, means 
squinting as applied personally, or crooked as applied 
to tilings inanimate, a gledeman might be either a 
squinting man or a crooked man. What shall be said 
of Deadman, which must be acknowledged to be the 
most absurd name ever bestowed upon living creature ? 
The somewhat similar name of Dudman occurs in that 
celebrated burlesque poem, " The Tournament of 
Tottenham,'^ and Bailey defines it as ^' a malkin or 
scare-crow, a hobgoblin or spright !'* 



'* Mais de ces denominations individuelles et fugitives, comment se sont 
formes des noms de famille permanents ?" — Salverte. 

YERYONE must have remarked the 
great number of names of this kind. 
Who is there among my readers who 
does not immediately call to mind some 
score or two of Edwardses^ Johnsons, 
Stevenses, and Harrisons, in the circle 
of his acquaintance? Yet such names are far more 
common than at first sight they appear to be, as I shall 
prove before I arrive at the end of this Chapter ; for 
in addition to all or nearly all the personal, Christian, 
or baptismal names antiently in use, a number truly 
surprising of modifications of such appellations has be- 
come part and parcel of our hereditary nomenclature. 
This feature is by no means peculiar to us. It obtains 
among the French, Germans, and other continental 
nations, and is nowhere more observable than in the 
nomenclature of ancient Rome. Salverte has remarked 
that there was scarcely one family name (nomen) which 
did not arise from either a prainomen or a cognomen, 
by simply changing the termination into ius, as Marcus, 
Marcius, Quintus, Quintius. He even goes so far as 



to say that all Roman names (nomina) terminated in 
ius originally : sncli names as Peducaeus, Annaeus, 
having been in their primitive form Peducaius. An- 
nains, &c. That this ius signifies ' son^ must be ad- 
mitted by all, but whether it is derived from the Greek 
viog, as maintained by one or two writers, I leave to 
abler etymologists to determine. 

Among the English surnames which have been de- 
rived from baptismal names are the following : 























































































































Great numbers of these have been assumed in the 
genitive case, as John Reynolds, for John the son of 
Reynold, James Phillips, for James the son of Philip ; 
others have been corrupted in various ways ; thus, 
Bennet from Benedict, Cutbeard from Cuthbert, Bryant 
from Brian, Emary (whence Emmerson) from Almeric, 
Errey from Eric, &c. Others seem to be French cor- 
ruptions of Latin names, as Stace from Statins, Aurel 
from Aurelius, Gell from Gellius. 

Those who are conversant with documents belonging 
to the middle ages, are well aware of the disposition 
that then existed to make the father's christian name 
the surname of the child. Even at a much more recent 
date, the sire-name was frequently preferred to the sta- 
tionary surname of the family. In Dr. Fiddes's ^ Life 
of Cardinal Wolsey,' Edmund Bonner, bishop of London, 
is called Dr. Edmunds, and Stephen Gardiner, bishop 
of Winchester, Dr. Stephens. These prelates, indeed, 
had no children ; but such instances may serve to show, 
nevertheless, with what facility christian names would 
pass into surnames in cases where there were children.* 

Camden has a list of surnames, formed of such fore- 
names as are now obsolete, and only occur in Doomsday 
Book and other records of antient date. From this list, 
and from another by Dr. Pegge in the Gentleman's 
Magazine for 1772, p. 318, I select such as I have 
myself met with, omitting from the Doctor's catalogue 

* Notes of a Bookworm. 


those names which are still common as christian names, 
and adding others.* 

Anstis (Anastasius). 

Ayscough, Askew (Asculphus). Huskisson zzz 

Askew^s son ? 


Ansell (Anselm). 
Austin (Augustine). 


Brand {Sao?. Chiton.) 

Bennet (St. Benedict). 




Barchard (Belchard). 

Barringer (Berengerius). 


Bryant (Brient). 

Coleman [Bede). 
Cadman (Caedman). 


DuRRANT (Durandus). 

Drew (Drogo). 

DoDD. Whence Dodson 

* From this enumeration I also omit many of the names called by 
Camden " Christian names in use about the time of the Conquest," such as 
Hasting, Howard, Talbot, Pipard, Poyntz. What, I ask, are these but 
surnames ? Does not the fact of such names occurring singly in Doomsday 
Book, add weight to the opinion I expressed at page 29 ? 


Edolph (Eadulph, Sax, Chron.) 

Ellis (Elias).* 

Elmer (^Imer). 

Everest, Every, Everett and Verry (Everard). 

Eachard (Achard, Doomsday). 

Etty (Eddy). 

Edltn (Atheling). 

Eade, Eades (Eudo). 

Eulke (Fulco). 

Farand, Farrant (Ferdinand). 
Folkard, Folker (Fulcher).t 
Freeman (Fremund). 


Godwin, Goodwin. 


Goodluck [Doomsday). 

Grimes (Grime). 

Gunter [Ingulphus). 

Gamble (Gamel, Sax.) 

Grimbell (Grimbald). 

Hassell (Asceline). 

Hesketh (Hascuith). 

Harman [Sax. Chron.) — See page 146. 

HoDE, HoAD, Hood (Odo). 

Hake (Haco). 

Hamlin (Hammeline). 

Harding [Ingulph.) 

Hammond (Hamon). 

* The Ellises of Yorkshire consider themselves to be surnamed from 
Eliseux in Normandy. 

t FuLCHER is evidcntlv the origin of Fullagar. 



Harvey (Herve). 

Ingram (Ingelram). 

Jarvis (Gervaise). 



Kettle (Chetell, Doomsday), 
KiLLiCK (Calixtus). 

Lucy (Lucius). 

Mallet [Sax. Chron.) 


Massey (Macey, Doomsday). 

Mervyn (Merfin). 

Orso (Urso), whence Fitz-Urse. 

Ody (Odo). 



Relfe (Ralph). 
Reyner (Reinardus). 

RoTHERY (Rodericus). 
RoLLE (Raoul). 

Stiggins (Stigandus or Stigand), whence Stiggson. 
Saer, now Sayers. 
Searle (Serlo). 


Sewell (Sewallus). 
Seaward (Siwardus).^ 
Swain (Sweyn). 
Seabright (Sigebert). 

S A very (Savaricus). 
Sankey (Sancho). 
Semple, Sampol (St. Paul). 
Sampiere (St. Peter). 
Stydolph (St. Edolph). 
Samand (St. Amado). 
Simberd (St. Barbe). 

Tankard (Tancred). 
Tipple (Theobald). 
Tippet (the same). 
ToLY (St. Olave). 
Terry (Theodoric). 


TuRROLD, or TuRREL (Thorold). 
Tudor, Welsh (Theodore). 



Wish ART (Wiscard). 



Wimble, Wimboll (Winebald, Doomsday. )-\ 

* This was also a name of office : the Anglo-Saxon Saeweard was a high 
admiral, who kept the sea against pirates. The surname is likewise found 
in the forms of Saward and Seward. 

■f Wimhledon, in Surrey, is probably the tun or enclosure of one 
Winebald, a Saxon. 


In the remarkable discovery of Anglo-Saxon coins 
of the eleventh century lately made near Alfriston^ 
CO. Sussex, among the names of the moneyers occurring 
on the reverses, are several which are still extant as 
family names in this part of the country ; e. g, — 

Bridd (of Hastings). A family oi Breeds is still 
resident in that town. ' Brid^ is the A.-S. form of 

WuLGAR, now written Woolgar and Woollgar. 

BoGE, hodie Bogue, 

WuLMER, now Woolmer. 

SwETMAN, now Sweatman and Sweetman, 

Elard, hodie Ellard. 

Dunning has preserved its original orthography for 
upwards of eight centuries.^ 

We have a few surnames from Welsh names, as 
Cradock (from Caradoc), Chowne (from Chun), Merricks 
and Meyy^ck (from Meirric), Meredith, and MadoXy 
corrupted to Maddicks, ' whereby hangs a tale.^ " Are 
3^ou acquainted with mathematics ?'' asked a young 
pedant of a country acquaintance. " No,^^ was the 
reply ; " I know Tom Maddicks and Will Maddicks^ but 
as to Mattliy, I never heard tell on him before.''^ 

Next in order come the names terminating with son, 
as Adamson, Johnson, Henry son, Clementson, Richardson, 
PhiUpso7i, &c. whose derivation is clear, together with 
Heardso7i, Croivson, Quilson, Wigson, &c. from cor- 
rupted names, or from names no longer in use. Many 
of these were doubtless assumed before the Conquest, 
as we find Grimkelson, Gamelson, &c. in the time of 
Edward the Confessor, if not earlier. The Norman 
riTZ, a corruption of ejls, was used in the same way, 

* Kt should be observed, however, that several of these names occur on 
coins not struck m this part of England. 


and among tlie conquered Saxons was sometimes adopted 
instead ; thus Sweynsonne and Hardingsonne became 
Fitz-Swain and Fitz-Harding ;* generally however the 
FiTZ denotes a Norman extraction. Sometimes, but 
rarely^ son was appended to a profession, trade, title, 
or condition, as Dukeson, Clarkson, Cookson, Wrightson, 
Smithson, Masterson, Stewardson, Hindson, and Widowson. 

In Scotland there are several names analogous to 
these, as McMaster, McKnight, McPriest, McQueen, 
McBride seems to perpetuate a scandal ; but what 
shall be said of McCambridge and Mc Quaker ! It 
may well be supposed that some of these are cor- 

The FITZ or son conjoined to a female name is 
thought to denote illegitimacy, as Fitz-Parnell, Fitz- 
Emma ; Anson, Eveson, Emson, and Nelson, from Ann, 
Eve, Emma, and Nel or Eleanor.f So also Susans, 
Maudlins (Magdalene), Anne, Avis (Hawisa), Grace, 
Hannah, Pegge, that is Margery, Betty, Sail, Nance, 
Mary, Rachel, Jane, and the like. But it should be 
remembered, that the Romans occasionally used their 
mother^s name, when born in wedlock, and that our 
Henry the Second called himself Fitz-Empress. 

Other names are formed of, and upon, the cant or 
abbreviated Christian names ; {^' pardon me,^^ saith 
Master Camden, ^^ if I offend any, for it is but my 
coniectare,'') as Nat for Nathaniel, Bill for William, 
Wat for Walter, and many such like, which you may 
learn of nurses! Whether these odd monosyllables were 

* " The use of the prefix fitz has, with propriety, been revived in mo- 
dern times. The eldest son of Harris, Earl of Malmesbury, is, by title of 
courtesy, Viscount Fitzliarris." 

t Some of these apparently female names are possibly corruptions of 
masculine ones; thus Anson may be Hanson — Nelson, Neilson, &c. 


originally applied to children* as terms of endearment, 
and thus acquired the appellation of 7iurse-names, I 
cannot say. Camden favours this opinion. They 
'^ seem/^ says he, " to proceede from nurses to their 
nurslings ; or from fathers and maisters to their boyes 
and seruants : for as according to the old proverbe 
Omnls herus seruo monosyllabus, in respect to their 
short commands ; so Omnis seruus hero monosyllabus, in 
respect to the curtolling their names.^^ 

The Anglo-Saxons sometimes shortened proper names 
in this manner : e. g. Saba for Saeborht ; Totta for 
Torhthelm, Sicgga for Sigefrith or for Sigibed, Eda for 
Eadwine, ^lle for ^Ifwine, &c. '' We are led to be- 
lieve/-' observes Mr. Kemble, " in the gradual reception 
by bodies of men of such misnomers as delight us in 
our nurseries, and to accept the ways of society in very 
early periods, not indeed as child-like but as childish.^^ 

In the fifteenth century these misnomers were so 
commonly applied that they were even introduced into 

* How came such names as the following to be appropriated to birds, 
quadrupeds, and fishes ? 

Jack-Daw. Bob ; Robin, theredbreast. 

Mag-Pie (Margaret). Jack-Hern, the heron, 

Chick-a-Biddy (Bridget). Will, the sea-gull. 

Hedge-Mike (Michael), the hedge- Reynard, the fox. 

sparrow. Jenny- Wren. 

Jack- Ass. Tom-Tit, the titmouse. 

Poll-Parrot. Jack, the pike. 

Dicky-Bird. Dobbin, a horse (Robert). 

Neddy -Ass. Billy- and Nanny -Goat. 

Til?', a cat (Theobald). PAzjwjt? (Philip), a sparrow. (Skelton.) 

Tom-Cat. Jack-Avil, a species of crab. 

Gib, a cat (Shakspeare, Henry IV Tabby -Cat (Tabitha). 

Even inanimate things, as machines, bear similar appellations ; witness 
Roasting-Jack and Spinning-Jenny ! 


legal documents. Personages of some distinction are 
called indifferently Roger and Hodgkyn^ Walter and 
Watkyn, in the course of the same deed. Monarchs 
themselves deemed it no slight to be thus miscalled ; 
thus our later Henries were frequently designated 
Harry. The poet Gower has the following verses on 
the occasion of Wat Tjder^s insurrection, which are 
curious as containing several of these abbreviated names 
in a Latin dress : 

** Watte vocat, cui Thoma venit, neque Symme retardat, 

BATque, GiBBE simul, Hykke venire subent : 
CoLLE furit, quem Bobbe juvat, nocumenta parantes 

Cum quibus ad damnum Wille coire volat, 
Grigge rapit, dum Davie strepit, comes est quibus Hobbe, 

Larkin et in medio non minor esse putat; 
Hudde ferit, quem Judde terit, dum Tibbe juvatur, 

Jacke domosque viros vellit, en ense necat," &c. 

Andrews has rendered these lines in the following 
humorous manner : 

" Wat cries, Tom flies, nor Symkin stays aside ; 

And Batt and Gibb and Hyke, they summon loud ; 
Collin and Bob combustibles provide, 

While Will the mischief forwards in the crowd ; 
Greg bawls. Hob bawls, and Davy joins the cry, 

With Larkin not the least among the throng ; 
HoDD drubs, Judd scrubs, while Tib stands grinning by, 

And Jack with sword and fire-brand madly strides along 1" 

The names of the class of which 1 am now treating 
are exceedingly numerous, as eight, ten, or even fif- 
teen surnames are sometimes formed upon a single 
Christian name. The name of William^ indeed, is the 
basis of no less than twenty-nine such names, as will 
be seen by referring to the list I am about to place 
before the reader. Besides the syllable son, annexed 


to the cant names Sim^ Will^ Hodge^ &c. we have 
three principal terminations ; kin, ot, and cock, as 
Simkin, Wilmot, Hedgecock. Of the first two it is only 
necessary to state that they are diminutives ; -kin being 
derived from the Flemish,* and -ot from the French, 
Thus Timpkin stands for " little Tim" or Timothy, and 
Adcot for " little Ade," or Adam. But the termination 
COCK is not so easily disposed of. Camden appears to 
derive it from the male of birds : hence among his 
names deduced from the " winged nation," he places 
Alcocke, Wilcocke, and Handcocke ; but, so far as I am 
acquainted with our provincial dialects, those are not 
names locally assigned to any particular species of birds, 
as some others (shrillcock, stormcock, &c.) are well 
known to be. We must therefore look elsewhere for 
the origin of the termination. 

Considerable discussion on this subject took place in 
the pages of the Gentleman^s Magazine some years since, 
the substance of which is given below. A correspondent, 
J. A. C. K., in an article published in that periodical 
in the number for May 1837, speaking of the great 
number of surnames of which cock is a component 
syllable, observes, that " many of them are evidently 
borrowed from the animal creation, as Peacock, em- 
ployed to designate a vain, showy fellow ; Woodcock, 
applied to a silly coxcomb; and Shilcock, that is 
shrillcock, a Derbyshire provincialism for the throstle. 
BococK or Bawcock, is, of course, nothing more nor 

* It may be remarked that names with this or a similar termination are 
still very numerous in Holland. There is a great similarity between the 
family nomenclature of that country and our own, especially in those 
names which have Christian names as their basis. Thus Symonds is 
Siinmonds ; Huygens, Higgins ; Pieters, Peters, &c. The termination -son 
is found in most of the languages of Gothic origin. 


less than the French Beaucoq, fine fellow/^ Alcock, 
Badcock, DrawcocKj Grocock, Slocock^ this sapient 
scribbler casts aside as " indelicate -^^ *' Luccock or 
Luckcock/^ he continues^ " probably denotes some 
lucky individual (!) With respect to Hitchcock^ it 
appears to have been synonymous with woodcock, and 

employed to signify a silly fellow Glasscock, 

Adcock, Mulcock^ bid defiance to all etymology, unless 
the termination be a corruption of cot. Thus Glasscock 

becomes Glas-cote, Adcock, At-cote, &c It 

seems highly probable that Atcock and Alcock, 
HiccocK and Wilcock, are but varieties of Atcot and 
Alket, Hickot and Wilkot, the familiar terms At and 
Hal, Hick and Will, for Arthur, Henry, Isaac, and 
William. As far as relates to the latter name, Wilcock, 
I am decidedly of opinion that such has been its ori- 
ginal form, corroborated as it is by the surnames of 
Wilcockes and JVilcoxon, still existing amongst us." 

This communication led to a second, (Gent. Mag. 
Sept. 1837,) in which the writer observes, that only 
six out of the one hundred and fifty names contain- 
ing this mysterious syllable can be assigned to the 
animal creation ; while he is inclined to think many of 
the names local, being derived from cock, a hillock : 
Cockburn, the burn by the hillock ; Cockham, the ham- 
let by the hillock : so also Cockfield, Cocksedge, Cock- 
wood, &c. The reader will remark that in this article 
the examples are chosen from such names as have cock 
for their initial, and not for their final, syllable, and 
therefore do not aid our inquiry ; although the deriva- 
tion of Cockburn, &c. is probably correct. 

J. G. N. in a third article on the same topic, (Gent. 
Mag. May, 1838,) remarks that the word '^ often occurs 
in the records of this country under the various forms 


of Coc^ Koc, le Cok, le Coq, &c._, answering in fact^ to 
the Latin Coquus, more usually, during tlie middle 
ages, written Cocus, and while the greater number of 
those antient professors of the culinary art have modi- 
fied their orthography to Coke, or Cooke, or Cook, 
others have evidently retained the final c, and thus 
assimilated their names to the victims instead of the 
lords of the kitchen. Hence we proceed to Cock, 
Cocks, and Cox.^^ He then quotes the Great Rolls of 
the Exchequer for 25 Hen. Ill, 1241, in which one 
Adam Coc or Cok is commissioned by the king to 
superintend certain repairs at Clarendon palace, '^and 
to instruct the workmen, so that the kitchen and stables 
might be enclosed within the outer wall.^^ Having hit 
upon this clue, he thinks it leads to an " explanation 
of some of the names ending in cock, as Meacock, the 
MEAT-cook (!) Salcock, the SALT-MEAT-cook (! !) Slocockf 
the SLow-cook (!!!) and Badcock, the iMPERFECT-cook 

(!!!!) Grococke is the gross or ivholesale cook 

... or, perhaps, le gros coCy or fat cook (! !) and those 
compounded with Christian names are thus readily 
accounted for. Wilcox will be William the Cook ; 
Hancock, Johan the Cook ; Sandercock, Alexander 
the Cookj Jeffcock, Jeffry the Cook, &c.* The 
Allcocks may be descended from Hal the Cook, unless 
their great ancestor was Aule cocus, the Hall-Cook.^' 
Some others, he thinks, have originated from names of 
places, as Laycock from Lacock, in Wiltshire, &c. &c.; 
others from the bird, from their being persons of noisy 
or pugnacious dispositions, or perhaps from their prac- 
tice of early rising (!) Cockerell (he justly says) is 

* If Christian names were ever so compounded with vocations, how is 
it that we have no such names as //qw-smith as well as Hancock ; Will- 
MiLLER as well as Wilcock ; Sander-TAiL,ovi, as well as Sandercock ? 


derived " from cockerel^ a young or dwarf bird of that 

*' Ariel. Which of he, or Adrian, for a good wager, first begins to crow? 
Seb. The okl cock. 
Ant. The cockrel. 
Seb. Done : the wager ?" Tempest, Act ii, Scene i. 

That Peacock, Woodcock, and a few others^ are 
derived from birds^ is unquestionable, seeing that we 
have the congenerous names Raven, Finch, Sparrow, &c. 
from that source; and that others are corruptions of 
cot, cannot, I think, be denied; but that cock, as a 
termination, has aught to do with cocus, coq, or cook, 
is a supposition perfectly ridiculous. As to J. G. N.^s 
record in the Exchequer Rolls, it is a most amusing 
piece of nonsense to imagine that the said Adam Coc 
was the royal cook. Who indeed ever heard of a cook^s 
possessing any architectural skill beyond what is re- 
quired in the construction of the walls of a gooseberry 
tart or a venison pasty ? Besides, what had a cook to 
do with walling in the royal stables? We have just 
as much right to assume that he was the king^s farrier. 
But even admitting this same Adam^s surname to have 
been originally derived from that necessary office of the 
kitchen, does it at all explain Meacock, Salcock, &c. ? 
I do not consider the question deserving of a serious 

What then is the meaning of cock ? Why, it is 
simply a diminutive, the same as ot or kin. This 
opinion I had formed long before I saw the correspond- 
ence just noticed, and it is supported by numerous 

* Let me not be understood as entertaining the shghtest disrespect for 
J. G. N., who occupies a deservedly exalted station in English archaeologi- 
cal literature. Homer himself sometimes sleeps. 


proofs. I do not profess to assign a satisfactory mean- 
ing to all the names with this termination ; yet I think 
I have been successful in affixing that of five sixths of 
all such names as I have ever met with. And I doubt 
not that the remainder might be explained with equal 
facility were not the Christian names of which they are 
the diminutives extinct. Badcock and Salcock in 
J. G. N.'s list are evidently ''Little Bat/' that is, 
Bartholomew ; and '' Little Saul/' which, however 
unenviable a name, was sometimes used by our ances- 
tors. In like manner we may account for Wilcocke or 
Wilcox, ''Little WiUiam/' Allcock, "little Hal or 
Harry/' Luckock, "little Luke/' and the rest.* My 
old friend, N. Bailey^ OtXoXoyoc, whom I have found 
very useful in these matters, has not the word cock in 
this sense, but he has the low Latin terms Coca, a little 
boat, and Cocula, a small drinking cup, which I think 
help me a "little." The term, in its simple form, was 
probably never used except in a familiar colloquial 
manner, and in this way the lower orders in the south 
of England are still accustomed to address "little" 
boys with " Well, my little Cock,'' a piece of tautology 
of which they are not at all aware. 

In Lincolnshire a little fussy person is called a 
Cockmarall, and in other districts any diminutive per- 
son is designated Cock-o-my -Thumb . The true meaning 
of the much debated expression Cockney seems to be a 
spoilt or effeminate boy, " Puer in deliciis matris 
nutritus — Anglice H feofent^j)."t 

* A correspondent reminds me that '* ock is still a common diminutive 
in Scotland, as Willock, Lassock, Nannock." This suggestion enables us 
to account for Pollock, MattocJc, and Baldock, which are evident modifi- 
cations of Paul, Matthew, and Baldwin. 

t MS. in Bibl. Reg. quoted by Halliwell. 


In Scotland, a cock-laird is a landowner who culti- 
vates the whole of his estate ; a little or minor laird. 
Nor must we forget the use of this mysterious syllable 
in the antient nursery-rhyme of — 

Ride a coc^-horse 

To Banbury Cross, &c. 

where little horse is evidently intended. I was long 
puzzled with the surname CowCj which I have now no 
hesitation in calling a synonyme of Little. Mr. Cox head 
is probably Mr. Little-head_, (in contradistinction, I 
presume, to Mr. Greathead. What a pity it is the 
syllables of that gentleman's name were not trans- 
posed, for he might then stand a fair chance of ob- 
taining the preferment of Head-Cook in J. G. N.'s 
kitchen !* 

* I thought I had settled the true etymology of this termination — cock ; 
but from the correspondence of several literary friends I find that it still 
remains a moot point. It would be no difficult matter to gossip over an 
additional half-dozen of pages in a similar style to the preceding ; but as 
the tendency of such discussions is rather to darken than to elucidate the 
subject in hand, I deem it most prudent to leave the matter to the decision 
of the reader. I cannot however resist the temptation to quote a few ob- 
servations with which I have been favoured by the secretary of the Gaelic 
Society of London. ** Coch, the Welsh for red," says that gentleman, 
" makes in English, Cox and Cocks." . . . . " They" — namely, the surnames 
in Cock — " are merely Gaelic, Cornish, and Welsh terms (! !), expressive 
of personal qualities slightly modified into English, as — 

** (Gaelic. 

Algoch, great, Alcock, 
Stangoch, pettish, StancocJc, 
Magoch, clumsy or large-fisted, 

Macock and Meacock, 
Bacoch, lame, Bacock, 
Leacoch, high-cheeked, Lay cock, 
Lucocb, l)ow-leggcd, Lucock, 
Peacoch, gay, liandsome. Peacock. 

Bochog, })lob-cheeked, Pocock, 
Bachog, crooked, Bacock, Ike. &c." 


But lest I should be accused of making ^^much ado 
about nothiug/^ I proceed to set down my list of son- 
names, nurse-names, and diminutives, which I hope 
will furnish some amusement to the reader : — 

From Adam are derived Adams, A damson, Ade,* Adj^e, 

Adey, Addis, Addy, Addison, Adcockj Addiscot, 

Addiscock, Adkins, and Addecott. 
Abraham, Abrahams, Abramson, Mabb, Mabbs, 

and Mabbot. 
Arthur, Atts, Atty, Atkins, Atkinson, and 

Atcock; perhaps also Aitkin and Aikin. 
Andrew, Andrews, Anderson, Henderson. 
Aldred, Alderson. 
Alexander, Sanders, Sanderson, Sandercockj 

Allix, Aiken, Alley. 
AiNULPH, Haynes, Hainson. 
Allan, Allanson, Hallet, Elkins, Elkinson. 
Anthony, Tony, Tonson, Tonkin. 
Benjamin, Benn, Benson, Bancock, and Ben- 

Baldwin, Ball, Baivcock, Baldey, Baldock, 

Balderson, Bawson. 
Bartholomew, Batts, Bates, Batson, Bartlett, 

Batcock, Badcock, Batty, Batkin. 
Bernard, Bernards, Bernardson, Barnard, 

Barnett,t Berners. 
Christopher, Christopherson, Kister, Kitts, 

Cuthbert, Cuthbertson, Cutts. 

* Adam is usually abbreviated to Jde in the Nonarum Rolls, and other 
antient records. 

t Often so corrupted. 


Clappa, an obs. Saxon name, Clapp^ Clapps, 

Crispin, Crispe, Cripps. 
Clement, Clements, Climpson. 
Charles, Kell, Kelson, Kelley. 
DiGORY, Digg, Digges, Diggins, Digginson, 

Drogo, Drew, Dray, Drayson, Drocock. 
DoDA, an obsolete Saxon name, Dodd^ Dodson. 
Donald_, Donaldson, Donkin. 
Dennis, Denison, Tennison. 
Daniel, Dann,t Daniels, Tancock, 
DuNSTAN, Dunn (if not from the colour). 
David, Davey, Daffy, Davison, Davis, Dawes,J 

Dawkins, Dawkinson, Dawson, Davidge, (i. e. 

David^s,) &c. 
Edward, Edwards, Etliards, Edes, Edkins, 

Edwardson, Tedd. 
Elias, Ellis, Ellison, Elliot, Elliotson, Elson, 

Elley, Ellet, Lelliot. 
Edmund, Edmunds, Edraundson, Munn, Monson. 
Eustace, Stace, Stacekyn. 
Francis, Frank, Frankes. 

* Clapliam, in Surrey, is the Jiam or house of * Clappa,' a Saxon, who 
held the manor temp. Confessoris. 

t Unless it be from Bati, an antient title of respect from the Lat. 

X A correspondent protests against the derivation of Dawes from David, 
and quotes the * Gloss?,ire' of Roquefort : " Awe ; eau, riviere, fontaine, 
etang, aqua ;" adding that the name was spelt with an apostrophe, 
D'Awes, so lately as 1724, by Sir "William D'Awes, archbishop of 
Canterbury. I still think, however, that in many instances Dawes is a 
simple 'nurse-name:' without it I do not see how we can get our Dawson, 
Dawkins, Dawkinson, &c., any more than we can get Ha\\kins and 
Ilawkinson from Ilenrv without the intermediate llawes. 


From Fergus^ Ferguson. 

Gideon^ Gyde, Giddy, Giddings, Giddies, Geddes. 
Gilbert, Gill, Gillot, Gilpin, Gibb, Gibbs, 

Gibbon, Gibbons, Gibson, Gubbins, Gibbings, 

Gipp, Gipps. 
Giles, Gillies, Gilkes,* Gilkin, Gilkinson. 
Gregory, Gregg, Gregson, Grocock^ Gregorson, 

GoDARD or Godfrey, Godkin, Goddin, Goad. 
Geoffry, JeflPerson, JefFson, Jepson, Jeffcock^ 

Jeffries, Jifkins. 
Henry, Henrison, Harry, Harris, Herries, 

Harrison, Hal, Halket, Hawes, Halse, Hawkins, 

Hawkinson, Halkins, Allkins, Haskins, Alcock, 

Hall (sometimes). 
Hugh, Hewson, Hugget, Huggins, Hugginson, 

He wet. 
Joseph, Joskyn, Juggins. 
John, Johnes, Jones, Johnson, Johncock, Janson, 

Jennings, Jenks, Jenkins, Jenkinson, Jack, 

Jackson, Juxon, Hanson, Hancock, Hanks, 

Hankinson, Jockins. 
JuDE, Judd, Judkin, Judson. 
Job, Jubb, Jobson. 
Jacob, Jacobs, Jacobson, Jeakes. 
James, Jamieson. 
Jeremy, Jerrison, Gerison, Jerkin. 
Isaac, Isaacs, Isaacson, Hyke, Hicks, Hixon, 

Higson, Hickot, Hiscock (q. d. Isaac-ocK), 

Lawrence, Larry, Larkins, Lawes, Lawson, 


* When the initial G is soft, those names above assigned to Gilbert 
probably belong to Giles. 


From LuKEj Luckins, Luckock, Lucock, Locock, Lukin, 

Luckin^ Luckings, Luckett. 
Matthew, Mathews, Matheson, Matson, Madison, 

Mathey, Matty, Maddy. 
Maurice, Morrison, Mockett, Moxon. 
Mark, Markcock, Marks. 
Nicholas, Nichol, Nicliolls, Nicholson, Nickson, 

Nixon, Cole, Colet, Colson, Collins,* Collison, 

Glascock, Glasson. 
Neal or NiGELL, Neale, Neilson, Nelkins. 
Nathaniel, Natkins. 
Oliver, Olliver, Oliverson, OUey, Nolls, Nolley, 

Peter, Peterson, Pierce, Pierson, Perkin, Perkins, 

Purkiss, Perk, Parkins, Parkinson, Peters, Parr, 

Porson, Parson (sometimes). 
Philip, Phillips, Philps, Phelp, Phipson, Phipp, 

Phipps, Phippen, Philpot, Phillot, Philcox^f 

Philippe, Phillopson, Philipson. 
Paul, Paulett, Pallett, Pawson, Porson, Pocock, 

Palcock, Palk, Pollock, Polk.J 
Patrick, Patrickson, Paterson, Patson, Pattison. 

* ' Colline,' Fr., a hill, may be the origin of this name. 

t " Pillycock, Pillycock, sate on a hill, 
If he's not gone, he sits there still." 

From the * Nursery Rhymes of England,' by Mr. Halliwell, who observes 
that this word also occurs in (MS. Harl. 913) a manuscript of the fourteenth 
century. It is probably an older form of Philcox. 

X Mr. Polk, late President of the United States, is the third in descent 
from a Mr. Pollock. Powell, generally regarded as a contraction of the 
Welsh Ap-llowell, may with equal probability be deduced from Paul. 
Indeed Powel is a common orthography of the latter name : 

" After the text of Crist, and Powel and Ion." 

Wright's Chaucer, 7229. 

I. 8 


From Ralph, Rawes, Rawson, Eawlins, Rawlinsori, 

Rason, Roaf.* 
Randolph, Randalls, Rankin, Ranecock. 
Rhys (Welsh), Ap Rliys, Price, Apreece, Preece, 

Richard, Richards, Richardson, Ritchie, Rickards, 

Hitchins, Hitchinson, Hitchcock^ Dick, Dickson, 

Dixon, Dickens, Dickinson, Dickerson. 
Robert, Robins, Robinson, Roberts, Robertson, 

Robison, Robson, Roby,Dobbs,Dobbie,Dobson, 

Dobbin, Dobinson, Hoby, Hobbs, Hobson, 

Hobkins, Hopkins. 
Roger, Rogers, Rogerson, Hodges, Hodgson, 

Hodgkin, Hodgkinson, Hoskin(?), Hodd, 

Hodson (if not from Odo), Hudson. 
Reynold, Renolds, Reynoldson, Raincock. 
Samuel, Samson, Samkin. 
SwEYNE, Swaine, Swainson, Swinson. 
Simon, Simmonds, Simpson, Simmes, Symes, 

Simcockj Simpkin, Simpkinson. 
Stephen, Stephens, Stephenson, Stercock (?), 

Steen, Steenson, Stimson, Stinson, Stiff (?), 

Stebbing, Stubbs, Tiffany. 
Silas or Silvester, Silcock. 
Timothy, Tim, Timms, Timmings, Timpson, 

Thomas, Thorn, Tom, Thorns, Thompson, Thomlin, 

Thomlinson, Tompkins, Tampkins (a northern 

pronunciation), Thompkisson, Thompsett, 

Tampsett (northern). 
ToBiT, Toby, Towes, Towson, Tobin, Tubbe, 

TuRCHETiL, Turke. 

* See Paston Letters. 


From Theobald, Tibbald, Tipple (a murderous corrup- 
tion),* Tipkins, Tibbs, Tippet ! Tibbats. 

Walte r, Walters, Watt, Watts, Watson, Watkins, 
Watkinson, Watcock. 

William, Williams, Williamson, Wills, Wilks, 
Wilkins, Wilkinson, Wickens, Wickeson, Bill, 
Bilson, Wilson, Woolcock, Woolcot, Wilcocke 
and WilcoXy Wilcockson, Wilcoxon, Willet, 
Willmot, Willy, Willis, Wylie, Willott, Till, 
Tillot, Tilson, Tillotson, Tilly, Guilliam.f 


From Agatha, Agg. 

Alice, Alee and Alison. 

Agnes, Annis. 

Barbara, Babb. 

Katherine, Kates. 

Margaret, Marjory, Margerison, Margetts, 

Margetson, Margison, Maggs, Magson. 
Mary, Moll, Malkin, Makins, Makinson, Molson, 

May cock (?). 
Nib and 1b are French nurse-names for Isabel, 

wbence Nibbs, Niblett, Ibson, Ibbotson. 

Such names as these are supposed to denote the 
illegitimacy of the original bearers. Natural children 
among the Romans took their mothers^ names, and 
our own laws sanction the same practice. In the 

* At Heathfield, in Sussex, is a place called Tipple's Green : in old 
writings it is called Theobald's. 

t The baptismal name is so spelt by Leland. " By the wich churche 
enhabited of old tyme a gentilman, Johannes de St. Winnoco. After, the 
lordes Ilastinges wer owners of it, and they sold to Guilliam Lowre's 
gret grandfather now lyving." — Itin. Cornwall. 


Swiss canton of Appenzel a law prevails compelling 
illegitimates to bear the name and bourgeoisie of their 
mother, and they accordingly use such designations as 
^' Pagan, fils de Marie," or, more simply, '^ Pierre, fils 
de sa mere," — a name implying, according to Ducange, 
that the father^s name was unknown. 

On the other hand, and for the benefit of such as 
bear these names, but who object to this insinuation 
of the bend sinister into their pedigree, I vYOuld observe 
that the rule above alluded to does not always hold 
good. The Romans often gave their sons and daughters 
names representing those of their mothers : " In many 
Roman inscriptions," as Salverte remarks, " it is seen 
that a son with equal respect and tenderness towards 
both the authors of his being, employed after his own 
name the maternal designation as well as the paternal."* 
In the town of Montdoubleau in France (dep. de Loire- 
et-Cher) immemorial usage has given to a younger, or 
to the youngest, child, the surname of the mother ; and 
other instances might easily be adduced. The ana- 
logous practice of bearing the armorial ensigns of the 
mother when she was an heiress or belonged to a higher 
rank than the father, is familiar to the student of our 
medieval heraldry. 

We have already seen that the Romans frequently 
formed one name from another by elongation, as 
Constans, Constantius, Constantinus^ a series of names 
exactly parallel to our Wilks, Wilkins, Wilkinson ; 

* Since the tria nomina are becoming nearly as indispensable among 
us as they were in old Rome, I would suggest to parents the desirableness 
of making the mother's maiden surname the second appellative, as ' John 
Russell Smith.' Were such a practice general, how much assistance would 
be rendered to future genealogists ! And as I wish to promote by humble 
example what I recommend in words, I have given all my own children 
the maternal surname in this manner. 


and a still farther analogy is observable in tlie names 
which end in for, which is said to be a contraction of 
puer: hence Publipor^ Marcipor, Lucipor, and our own 
Johnson, Wilson, and Richardson, originated in the 
same principle. 

There is no reason to suppose that the abbreviated 
or nurse-names implied any disrespect to the persons 
to whom they were given, or that the Dicks and 
Dickson s were less respectable than the Richards 
or Richardsons of olden times. The Lincolnshire 
innkeeper mentioned by Camden laboured, therefore, 
under a mistake ; — but let Mr. Clarencieux tell his 
own story : 

" Daintie was the deuice of my host of Grantham, 
which would wisely make a difference of degrees in 
persons, by the termination of names in this word 
Bon, as between Robertson, Robinson, Robson, Hobson; 
Richardson, Dickson, and Dickinson ; Wilson, Wil- 
liamson, and Wilkinson ; Jackson, Johnson, Jenkinson, 
as though the one were more worshipfull than the 
other by his degrees of comparison.^^ 

Some christian names have been oddly compounded 
with other words to form surnames, as Goodhugh, 
Matthewman, Marklove, Fulljames (perhaps Foljambe), 
Harry man, Cobbledick, (on J. G. N.^s theory ' Dick 
the Cobbler !^) Jackaman, and Dulhumphrey ! 

The name of John has at least seven of these 
strange appendages, viz. : LittlejoHN, MickleJOHN, 
UpjoHxN, PretteJOHN, ApplejOHN, ProperjoHN, and 
BrownjoHN ! ! ! I cannot consider these last corrup- 
tions of other names, as the prefixes seem to be all 
significant and descriptive. Indeed so common is the 
forename John, that before the invention of regular 
surnames, these sobriquets might have been given with 


great propriety ;, for the sake of distinction, to as many 
inhabitants of any little village. Thus the least John 
of the seven would be the Little John of the locality ; 
while Mickle (that is great) John would be a very ap- 
propriate designation for the most bulky of the number; 
John at the upper end of the street might be called 
Up- John ; Pretty John was, 1 suppose, the hean of the 
village \ while the goodman who had the best orchard 
was styled Apple-John ; * Proper-John, no doubt, 
answered to his name, and was a model oi propriety to 
all the youth of the parish ; f while, to complete the list, 
Brown-John possessed a complexion which would not 
have disgraced a mulatto. All this may be rejected 
by profound etymologists and grave and solemn anti- 
quaries as inconsiderate trifling, though to the good- 
natured ^gentle reader^ it may appear quite as satisfactory 
as some of their more recondite speculations. 

The foregoing paragraph had been twice in print 
before the etymology of a very curious name, which I 
had often seen, occurred to me, as being similar — I 
mean Grosjean, which literally signifies ^ Big or Fat 
John,^ and is still applied in France by way of sobriquet 
to any self-important person. The occurrence of this 
name in another language seems a strong proof of my 
hypothesis. It is by no means uncommon in England. 

* I may remark, in support of this etymology, that I once knew a person 
who was famous for growing an excellent kind of potatoes, on which 
account he was often spoken of by his rustic neighbours as Tater-John ! 
Applejohn, in Shakspeare's time, was the name of a species of apple. 
"Do I not bate? Do I not dwindle?" says Falstaff; "why my skin 
hangs about me like an old lady's loose gown ; I am withered like an old 
Apple-John'^ — Hen. IV, act iii. 

t Sometimes 'proper' signified handsome; as " Moses was di proper 
child."— //e^. xi, 23. ''k proper youth and tall."— Old Ballad. 



NE would suppose that when almost 
every description of locality, whether 
town, village, manor, park, hill, dale, 
bridge, river, pond, wood or green ; 
every dignity, office, profession and 
trade; every peculiarity of body and 
of mind, and every imaginable modification of every 
christian name, had contributed their full quota to the 
nomenclature of Englishmen, the few millions of 
families inhabiting our island would have all been 
supplied with surnames ; but no : the thirst for variety 
(that charming word !) was not yet satisfied ; and con- 
sequently recourse was had to 

** objects celestial and things terrene, 
The wondrous glories of the firmament, 
And all the creatures of this nether scene. 
Beasts, fishes, birds, and trees, in beauteous green 
Yclad, and even stones ." 

Accordingly we find the names of the heavenly 
bodies, beasts, birds, fishes, insects, plants, fruits, 
flowers, metals, &c. &c. very frequently borne as sur- 
names. I shall first attempt a classification of these 
names under their various genera^ and then oflPer some 
remarks on their probable origin. 


I. From tlie Heavenly Bodies. SuUj MooUj Star. 

II. From Quadrupeds ; 

Ass/^ Bear, Buck, Badger, Bull, Bullock, Boar, 
Beaver, Catt, Colt, Coney, Cattle (\), Cow, Calfe, Deer, 
Doe, Fox, Faivn, Goat, Goodsheep, Hart, Hogg, Hare, 
Hound, Heifer, Kine (!), Kitten, Kydd, Lyon, Leppard, 
Lambe,-\ Leveret, Mare, Mule, Mole, Oxen (!), Otter, 
Oldbuck, Panther, Puss, Poodle {\), Palfrey, Pigg, Roe- 
buck, Ram, Rabbit, Roe, Setter, Steed, Stallion, Steere, 
Squirrel, Seal, Stagg, Tiger, Wildbore and Wetherhogg. 

Some names of animals now obsolete^ or only used in 
our provincial dialects^ are retained in surnames, as — 

Brock, a badger, in various dialects. In others it 
means an inferior horse, and " hence/^ says Kennett, 
" the name of ^ brockman^ in Kent, i. e. horseman," 
The surname Brockman is still in use, but I think 
analogy (see p. 119_,) is in favour of the ^ brockman^ 
of old having been a hunter of badgers. The Wicliffite 
version of the N. Test, renders Hebr. xi_, 37, " Thei 
wenten about in brok skynnes, and in skynnes of 
geet." X 

* This is mentioned as a surname by one or two authorities : I must 
confess I have never met with it. 

f Charles Lamb, in reply to the question, " Who first imposed thee, 

gentle name?" comes to the conclusion that his ancestors were shepherds ! 

X See more in Halliwell's Diet, and Way's Parv, Prompt, in voc. Brock. 

Both this word and ' stot' are employed by Chaucer to designate beasts 

of draught. 

" Thay seigh a cart, that chargid was with hay, 
Which that a carter drof forth in his way. 
Deep was the way, for which the cart stood ; 
The carter smoot, and cryde as he wer wood ; 
* Hayt, brok ; hayt, stot ; what spare ye for the stones? 
The fend,' quoth he, * now fech body and bones !' " 

Wrighfs Chauc. 7121, &c. 


Todd J a fox (see p. 119). 

Talbot, a mastiff; a familiar heraldric term. 

Gray, another provincialism for the badger. 

{Clutterbuck, which I have heretofore assigned to 
this class^ is supposed by Mr. Talbot"^ to be a local 
name from the A.-S. and German ^ cluttr/ ^kluttr/ 
clear, pure, transparent, and ^ beck/ a little stream.) 

Fitchettj a stoat or polecat. 

Stotty a young ox. 

Veal (in Anglo-Norman records, Le Veal), a calf. 

Moyle is the O. E. for any labouring beast, and Capel 
is an old word, signifying a strong horse; hence Chaucer, 

" And gave him caples to his carte." 

In an antient '' ballade of Robyn Hood^^ we have, 

** Yonder I heare Syr Guy's home blow, 
It blows so wel in tyde ; 
And yonder he comes, that wight yeoman, 
Clad in hys capul-hide." 

I have not found the name of Mouse in modern 
times, but ^^e Mouse'^ occurs in the Nonarum Rolls. 

One of the most singular designations I ever met with 
is that of a gentleman of fortune in Kent. His family 
name was Bear, and as he had maternal relatives of the 
name of Savage, his parents gave him the christian 
(or rather un- christian) name of Savage ! Hence he 
enjoyed the pleasing and amiable name of Savage 
Bear, Esquire ! ! 

Not content with having appropriated the names of 
the living animals, our ancestors sometimes, oddly 
enough, adopted the terms applied to their flesh, 
&c. when dead, as Mutton, Tripe, Pigfat, Gammon, 

* English Etymol. 



Brawrij Giblets, Hogsflesh/^ and Bacon. These two last 
were once borne by two innkeepers at Worthing, then 
a very small town ; whereupon a rustic poetaster penned 
the ensuing most elegant stanza : 

'* Worthing is a pretty place, 
And if I'm not mistaken, 
If you can't get any butcher's meat, 
There's Hogsflesh and Bacon /" 

III. Surnames derived from Birds are fully as 
numerous as those from quadrupeds : 

Biy^d, Blackbird, Bunting, Bulfinch, Buzzard, Bar- 
nacle, Bustard, Coote, Crane, Cock, Cuckoo, Crake, 
Chick, Chicken, Chaffinch, Croive, Capon, Drake, Duck, 
Dove, Daw, Egles, Foivle, Fitich, Falcon, Goshawk, 
Grouse, Gander, Goose, Gosling, Gull, Goldfinch, 
Hawke, Hoiolett, Heron, Heme, Jay, Kite, Linnet, 
Larke, Mallard, Nightingale, Peacock, Partridge, Phea- 
sant, Pigeon, Parrot, Raven, Rooke, Ruff, Svjan, Sparrow, 
Swalloiv, Sparroivhawk, Starling, Stork, Swift, Turtle, 
Teale, Thrush, Throssel, Wildrake, Wildgoose, Wood- 
cock,^ Woodpecker, Wren! 

Obsolete or Provincial Names of Birds used as sur- 
names : — 

Culver (A.-S.), a pigeon, whence the local names 
Cidverhouse (dove-cot), Culvertvell, &c. 

Bisset (Fr.), a wild pigeon. 

Henshaiv (O. E. ' hernshaw;^ in blazon^ Hieronsewe'), 

* The mistress of a ladies' seminary in a fashionable watering-place, 
who used to advertise her establishment under this name, now spells it 
Ho' flesh ! 

t Woodcock was an unfortunate name. It was often given by way of 
sobriquet to vain and silly people, from the vulgar notion that the bird 
designated by it was brainless I 


a young heron. One family of this name bear the 
allusive coat of three herons.* 

Popjay (O. E. ^popinjay^)^ a parrot. Shooting at 
the popinjay was a favourite amusement among our 
antient toxophilites. 

Carnell^ a bird_, but of what species I am not quite 
certain. Hone mentions a Christmas carol com- 

" As I passed by a river side, 

And as I there did rein (ramble), 
In argument I chanced to hear 
A carnal and a crane." 

" A cardnell volant^' occurs in BossewelFs ^ Workes 
of Armorie/ 1572. '' CI)J)!£^ Igttle ftprfte \^ \)tn 

flgurrt, gesJante a e^ealre of tfte tftfetle, for 
tl)at ^\)t Ipbeti) bp tfte s^ealree; of tl)em, ^mde 

illi inditum nomen. ^\)t I)ati) a Xi^t \^t^ty 

pealoSxie bmgesJ, Dfetimte b3it!) Ijoftite anlr 

tllacft^*^^ In the margin is placed the word Carduelis 
(a linnet), but the description evidently refers to the 
goldfinch. It is not so likely that cardnell or carnell 
is derived from ^carduus/ a thistle, as the old herald- 
rist imagines, as that it comes from cardinal, in allusion 
to the hood of red with which nature has invested this 
sprightly and beautiful little bird. 

* " He don't know a hawk from a handsaw" is a proverb often 
applied to an ignoramus. For handsaw read hernshaw. The saying ori- 
ginally and primarily referred to ignorance of a favourite sport — that of 
falconry — when the said ignoramus could not discriminate between the 
hawk and Us prey. I cannot help just remarking here that several of our 
most vulgar proverbs had a worthier origin than would appear at first 
sight. For example, '* To he called over the coals," in the sense of being 
questioned upon some alleged fault — apparently a meaningless expression 
— loses all its coarseness when we associate with it the ordeal hy fire, so 
much in use among our medieval ancestors. 


Spink is a provincialism for chaffinclij probably bor- 
rowed from the peculiar note of the bird. 

Goldspmky a goldfinch. 

GuiUiam, a provincial name for the sea-gull; it is 
also an O. E. orthography for William. (See p. 171.) 

Pocock is peacock. Chaucer's ^ Yeman' was 

** clad in coote and hood of grene 
A shef oipocok arwes bright and kene, 
Under his belte he bar full thriftily." 

Hannah (A.-S. ^hana'), a cock. 

Goss (A.-S. ^ gos^)_, a goose. 

Laverock, a lark. 

Balchin in the midland and western counties means 
an unfledged bird. 

Pye, which might be supposed to be derived from 
the bird so called_, is a corruption from the Welsh Ap- 
Hugh — u in that language having sometimes the sound 
of Y. This name is exceedingly common in some dis- 
tricts of England and Wales_, a fact that can excite no 
surprise in any one who " marks the conclusion'' of the 
following epitaph from Dewchurch near Kevenol : 

Here lyeth the 
Body of John Pye 
of Minde, 
a travayler in far countryes, 
his life ended ; he left be- 
hind him Walter, his son, 
heire of Minde ; a hundred and 
six yeares he was truly, and had 
sons and daughters two and forty /" 

Corbet, the name of more than one eminent family 
in the North of England, is raven. In Scotland, the 


namej both of the bird and the family, is varied to 
Corby. The reader who is versed in the old Scottish 
ballads will call to mind that of the Twa Corbies, which 
for tragic effect and wildness of diction is unequalled, 
and which, for the benefit of those to whom it may be 
new, I shall here take the liberty to introduce. 

As I gaed doun by yon house-een', 
Twa Corbies there were sitting their lane ; 
The ane unto the tother did say : — 
' where shall we gae dine to-day ?' 

doun beside yon new-faun birk, 
There, there lies a new-slain knicht ; 
Nae livin' kens that he lies there, 
But his horse, his hounds, and his ladye fair. 

His horse is to the hunting gane. 

His hounds to bring the wild deer harae ; 

His lady's taen another mate ; 

Sae we may mak our dinner sweet ! 

we'll sit on his bonny breist-bane, 
And we'll pyke out his bonny grey een ; 
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair 
We'll theek our nest when it blaws bare ! 

Many a ane for him maks mane. 
But none sail ken where he is gane ; 
Oiver his banes ivhen they are bare, 
The wind sail blaw for evermair /" 

So numerous are the names derived from this source 
that in a small congregation of dissenters at Feversham, 
CO. Kent, there were lately no less than hveyity -three 
names taken from the " feathered nation,^^ their pastor, 
a very worthy man, bearing the singularly appropriate 
name of Rooke ! 


" i,** quoti) m 3doofee, 
** m^vti) my ma toofet, 

Nurserie Romaunt of CocJce Robyn ! 

Many names of this sort have been the subjects of 
excellent puns, among which may be noticed the fol- 
lowing. '' When worthy master Hern, famous for his 
living, preaching and writing, lay on his death-bed, 
(rich only in goodness and children,) his wife made 
womanish lamentations what would become of her little 
ones? ^ Peace, sweetheart,^ said he, ^that God who 
feedeth the ravens will not starve the herns f — a speech 
(says Fuller) censured as light by some, observed by 
others as prophetical ; as indeed it came to pass they 
were all well disposed oi" Akin to this were the 
words of John Huss at his burning ; who, fixing his 
eyes steadfastly upon the spectators, said with a solemn 
voice — " They burn a goose, but in a hundred years a 
swan will arise out of the ashes :^^ words which many 
have regarded as a prediction of the reformer of 
Eisleben ; the name of Huss signifying a goose, and 
that of Luther a swan. 

The following is of a more humorous cast. As 
Mr. Jay, the eminent nonconformist divine of Bath, and 
his friend Mr. Fuller were taking an evening walk, an 
owl crossed their path, on which Mr. Fuller said to his 
companion, " Fray, sir, is that bird a jay f '^ No, 
sir,^^ was the prompt reply ; '^ it^s not like a jay, — it^s 
fuller in the eyes, ^ud fuller in the head, rnxd fuller all 
over /''* 

* Since the al)ove was written, a correspondent informs me that the 
same story is told " by that excellent old Enghsh classic, Miller, hight 
Joseph, reading however Woodcock for Jay." 


It is related in Collinses Peerage that a certain un- 
married lady once dreamed of finding a nest containing 
seven young finches, which in course of time was realized 
by her becoming the wife of a Mr. Finch, and mother 
of seven children. From one of these nestlings is de- 
scended the present earl of Winchelsea, who still retains 
the surname of Finch. 

IV. From Fishes. 

Bream, Burt, Base, Cod, Crabbe, Cockle, Chubb, Dol- 
phin, Eel, Flounders, Gudgeon, Grayling, Gurnard, 
Haddock, Herring, Jack, Ling, Lam'prey, Mullett, 
Minnow, Pilchard, Plaice, Piper, Pike, Perch, Pikerell, 
Ray, Roach, Sharke, Sturgeon, Salmon, Sole, Scale, 
Smelt, Sprat, Seal, Trout, Tench, Whiting, Whale; to 
which may be added Fish and Fisk, the latter being 
the true A.-S. form of the same word. 

V. From Insects and Reptiles. 

Bugg, Bee, Beetle, Cricket, Emmett, Flea, Fly, Grubb, 
Moth, Spider, Wasp, Worms, and Blackadder, 

Some of these again are probably corruptions^ but 
the firsts at leasts is of antient use as a second name^ 
for Mr. Kemble mentions an Anglo-Saxon lady named 
Hr6thwaru_, who bore the sobriquet of ^ Bucge^ (cimex, 
bug,) "perhaps (as Mr. K. jocularly observes) upon the 
principle of that insect being ^a familiar beast and a 
friend to man.^ ^' 

VI. From Vegetable Productions (omitting the 
names of trees, already mentioned.) 

Ashplant, Almond, Bays, Barbeny, Balsam, Bramble, 
Brier, Beet, Budd, Bean, By^oome, Codlin, Clover, Cran- 
berry, Cabbage, Clove, Cherry, Cockle, Darnell, Damson, 
Daisy, Feme, Fennel, Floiver, Floivers, Flax, Furze, 


Grain, Garlick, Gourd, Grapes, Holyoak, Hip, Herbage, 
Hempe, Ivy,^ Ivyleaf, Lily, Laurel, Leaf, Leeves, Leek, 
Millet, Medlar, Melo7i, Nutt, Nuts, Nettle, Gates, Onion, 
Orange, Olive, Pepper, Peppercorn,-\ Peascod, Pease 
(lately among the M. P.'s), Primrose, Peach, Pippin, 
Plum, Plant, Poppy, Parsley, Quince, Quickset, Raisin, 
Rue, Roiv(a)ntree, Rose, Seed, Stock, Straw, Sorrell, 
Sage, Spinage. Spice, Savory, Sweetapple, Tares, Tulip, 
Thistle, Violets, Vetch, Weed and Woodbine. 

* Holly and Ivy were personated in the antient holiday games. In 
Hone's Mysteries is the following quotation from a MS. carol, called **A 
Song on the Holly and the Ivy." (p. 94.) 

" Nay, Ivy, nay, hyt shal not he I wys, 

Let HOLY hafe the maystry ; as the maner ys : 

Holy stand in the halle, fayre to behold 

Ivy stond without the dore she is ful sore acold. 

Nay, Ivy, nay, 8fc. 

Holy and hys mery men, they dawnsyn and they syng, 
Ivy and hur maydyns, they wepyn and they wryng. 

Nay, Ivy, nay, 8fc." 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1779, a correspondent, under the name 
of Kitty Curious, describes an odd kind of sport which she witnessed in an 
obscure village in Kent on the festival of St. Valentine. The girls and 
young women were assembled in a crowd, burning an uncouth effigy which 
they called a Holly Boy, and which they had stolen from the boys; while the 
boys revenged themselves in another part of the village by burning a similar 
figure taken from the girls, and called an Ivy Girl. The sport was carried 
on with great noise and much glee. Kitty inquired the meaning of the 
observance from the most aged people of the place, but could only learn 
from them that it was a "very old antient custom." That surnames 
were occasionally assumed from such and similar mummeries, is confirmed 
by the following short extract from Fabyan's Chronicle (edit. 1559), sub 
anno 1502 : '* About Mydsomer was taken a felow wych had renued (re- 
newed) many of Robyn Hodes pagentes, which named hymselfe Grenelef." 
This name is not extinct. 

t There were formerly living in two adjacent houses in Deptford Broad- 
way, Mr. Pluckrose, a perfumer, and Mr. Peppercorn, a grocer. 


Roser is an obsolete word for rose-bush or tree, (Fr. 
^rosier/) as the following t7'ue tale from our unsophisti- 
cated friend Sir John Maundevile_, will show : 

'' And betwene the cytee [of Bethlehem] and the 
chirche is the felde floridus ; that is to seyne_, the feld 
florisched : for als moche as a fayre mayden was blamed 

with wrong and sclaundred, for whiche cause 

sche was demed to the dethe^ and to be brent in that 
place, to the whiche sche was ladd (led). And as the 
fyre began to brenne aboute hire, sche made hire 
preyeres to our Lord, that als wissely as sche was not 
gylty of that synne, that he wold help hire, and make 
it to be knowen to alle men of his mercyfuUe grace. 
And whan sche hadde thus seyd, sche entred in to the 
fuyer; and anon was the fuyr quenched and oute; and 
the brondes that weren brennynge becomen rede 
R-osERES ; and the brondes that weren not kyndled, 
becomen white E-oseres fulle of roses. And theise 
weren the first Roseres and roses, both white and rede, 
that evere ony man saugh.^^ 

There are several other surnames which at first sight 
appear to belong to this class, but which really belong to 
others. Of these some are local, as Barley, a parish in 
Hertfordshire, Smallwood^ in Cheshire, &c. Lemon 
and Peel would look well enough in juxta-position 
among vegetable surnames, but the truth is that neither 
of them belongs to the category. Of Peel I have 
already spoken among local names, and Leman is a cor- 
rupt spelling of the O. E. Memman,^ a paramour or 
mistress, a word of frequent occurrence in Chaucer. 
Filbert and Pear, again, are corruptions of the French 
proper names Philibert and Pierre. 

Lis and Blanchfloiver (Fr.), 4ily^ and 'white-flower/ 
might be added to the foregoing list. 


VII. From Minerals. 

Alum,^ Ambe7% Brass, Corall, Chrystal, Coale, Copper, 
Diamond and Dymond, Freestone, Gold, Garnett, Gravel, 
Irons, Jewell, Pewter, Silver and Steele. 

Clay, Chalk, Flint, Stone, Sands and Whetstone, are 
local names, and therefore do not belong to this 

Hone is an old spelling of ^ hand.^ 

Coke has nothing to do with charred coal : it is the 
old orthography of cook : — 

** A COKE they hadden with hem for the nones 
To boile the ehiekeues and the marie-bones, 
He coud-e roste and sethe and boile and frie, 
Maken mortrew-es and wel bake a pie." 

Chaucer^ Prologue. 

Having thus classified the surnames which are iden- 
tical with names of natural objects, it is our next duty to 
inquire in what manner they have got into our nomen- 
clature. After much research I have arrived at the 
conviction that their assumption is traceable to at least 
four different causes. 

I. Some were given to, or assumed by, the original 
bearers, as emblematical of their characters, as Lyon, 
Fox, Lambe. 

II. Others were sobriquets in allusion to some inci- 
dent in their personal history. 

III. Some were borrowed from the blazonry of the 
warrior's shield. 

IV. The majority were adopted from inn and traders' 

In this chapter I shall discuss the two former 

* Perhaps local. Alum Bay, Isle of Wight. Allom is a nursename of 


branches only. The third and fourth are connected 
with artificial objects, and to prevent confusion must be 
treated separately. 

The Greeks and Romans frequently applied the names 
of animals to persons who were supposed to bear some 
resemblance to them in the main features of their cha- 
racter. Among the latter people such names as Leo, 
Ursinicus, Catullus , Leporius, Aper, Gallus, Picus, FalcOj 
are sufficiently abundant. The Persian name Cyrus 
means a dog, and may possibly be related to our 
English word c ur ! And it is a singular and humorous 
coincidence that the nurse of Cyrus bore a name sig- 
nifying bitch ! Among less civilized races the same 
practice prevailed. The antient Germans, and the 
American Indians of the present day may be mentioned 
as instances. Verstegan says, ^^ The pagan Germans, 
ESPECIALLY THE NOBLEMEN, did somctimcs take the 
names of beasts, as one would be called a Lion, another 
a Bear, another a Wolf, &c.'^ 

One of the most widely-spread names of this kind is 
Wolfe, which occurs in the classical, as well as in many 
modern, languages, as Au/coc (Gr.), Lupus and Lupa 
(Lat.), Loupe (Fr.), Wulf (Sax.), and Guelph (Germ.) 
— the surname of the existing royal family of Great 
Britain."^ The old baronial name of Lovel is from the 

* Siste Viator ! and read the subjoined most veritable history ! " // iff 
told in the chronicles, that as far back as the days of Charlemagne, one Count 
Isenbrand, who resided near the Lake of Constance, met an old woman who 
had given birth to three children at once, a circumstance which appeared to 
him so portentous and unnatural, that he assailed her with a torrent of 
abuse. Stung to fury by his insults, she cursed the Count, and ivished that 
his wife, then enceinte, might bring at a birth as many children as there are 
months in the year. The imprecation was fulfilled, and the Countess became 
the mother of a dozen babes at once. Dreading the vengeance of her severe 
lord, she badeher abigailgo drown elevenof the twelve. But whom should tlie 


same source. The original name of that family was 
Perceval, from a place in Normandy ; until Asceline^ its 
chief, who flourished in the early part of the twelfth 
century, acquired, from his violent temper, the sobriquet 
of Lupus. His son William, earl of Yvery, was nick- 
named LuPELLUs, the little wolf, which designation was 
softened into Lupel, and thence to Luvel, and became 
the surname of most of his descendants.* Fosbroke 
mentions the name of Archembaldus Pejor-Lupo, 
Archibald Wo7^se-than-a-Wo1f ! but does not give his 
authority. t A seal lately found at Colchester bears the 
figure of a wolf carrying off a ram, with the not very 
complimentary legend, s' roberti dicti lypi, ^ the 
seal of Robert called the Wolf J 

The female name ' Ursula^ signifies little-she-bear — 
not a very good denomination for a saint ! Ursula 
Shebeare, a name I have somewhere met with, is, in 
sound, rather agreeable than otherwise, but, etymologi- 
cally, how dreadful ! The expression ^ a bear,^ some- 
times applied to an unamiable specimen of the genus 
homo, is repulsive enough ; a ^ she-bear^ is still more 
odious ; but when two she-bears unite in one of nature^s 
gentlest works, what word is sufficiently strong to ex- 
press our abhorrence? 

girl meet, while on this horrihle errand, but the Count himself, who, sus- 
pecting that all was not right, demanded to know the contents of the 
basket. " Welfen," was the intrepid reply, (i. e. the old German term for 
puppies, and now ti-aceable in our word whelps.) Dissatisfied with this 
explanation, the Count lifted up the cloth, and found under it eleven bonny 
infants nestled together. Their unblemished forms reconciled the scrupu- 
lous knight, and he resolved to recognise them as his lawful progeny. 
Thenceforward their children and their descendants went by the name of 
Guelph or Welf ; and from these identical little innocents does our liege 
lady Victoria inherit her cognomen." — Newspaper Paragraph. 

* Burke's Extinct Peerage. f Encyc. of Antiq. p. 429. 


Lupa was the name given as a sobriquet to the wife 
of Faustulus and the nurse of Romulus and Remus, on 
account of the rudeness of her temper. Hence the 
well-known fable of those illustrious twins having been 
suckled by a she-wolf. Many of the classical tales of 
antiquity doubtless originated in similar misapprehen- 
sions ; so also, let us charitably hope, did some of the 
most incredible miracles of medieval times. The case 
of the virgin-martyr Undecemilla having given rise to 
the story of the eleven thousand virgins is generally 

'' We should think Ass and Sow not very elegant 
names/^ observes the witty author of Heraldic Anoma- 
lies, " and yet there were persons of respectability at 
Rome who bore them — no less indeed than the Corne- 
lian and Tremellian families. The former got the name 
of Asinia by one of the family having agreed to buy a 
farm, who, being asked to give pledges for the fulfilment 
of his engagement, caused an ass, loaded with money, 
to be led to the Forum as the only pledge that could 
be wanted. The Tremellian family got the name of 
Scropha or Sow, in a manner by no means reputable ; 
but by what w^e should call, in these days, a hoaw, and 
a very unfair one into the bargain. A sow having 
strayed from a neighbour's yard into that of one of the 
Tremellii, the servants of the latter killed her. The 
master caused the carcase to be placed under some bed- 
clothes, where his lady was accustomed to lie, and, when 
his neighbour came to search for the pig, undertook to 
swear that there was no old sow in his premises, except 
the one that was lying among those bed-clothes, which 
his neighbour very naturally concluded to be the lady 
herself. How the latter liked the compliment the his- 
tory does not relate, but from that time the Tremellii 


acquired tlie cognomen of Scropha or Sow, which 
became afterwards so fixed a family name as to make 
sows of all their progeny, both male and female/^ 

One of the Fabian family received the name of 
BUZZARD (Buteo), because a bird of this species (always 
regarded as a good omen) happened to fall upon the 
vessel in which he was making a voyage. Corvinus is 
an example, more generally known, to which I shall 
have occasion to refer in my next chapter. 

These instances illustrate the first and second causes 
of the use of such names in my classification, as far as 
relates to animals ; and the following remark is equally 
relevant of those belonging to the vegetable kingdom. 

In the early periods of the Roman republic, when 
the plough was regarded as only second to the sword, 
and ^ Bonus Agricola' was equivalent to ^ Vir Bonus,' 
some of the noblest families adopted their family names 
from their having cultivated particular kinds of vege- 
tables, as the Fabii, Pisones, Lentuli, and Cicerones, 
who were respectively famous for the excellence of their 
beans, peas, lentils and vetches.* 

Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors sometimes gave as 
sobriquets to individuals the names of birds. Mr. 
Kemble mentions two ladies of those times who bore 
the appellations of Cy^oio and Duck (Crawe and Enede.) 
With respect to the latter, Mr. K. most gallantly ob- 
serves, '^ I would rather believe that modern slang had 
an antient foundation, than suggest that the lady's walk 
or gait had anything to do with the appellation." 

With respect to the more modern and regular sur- 
names of this sort, I would remark, that they generally 
occur in medieval records with the Norman-French 

* Vide Adams's Roman Hist. 


prefix ' le/ as Roger le Buck, Nicliolas le Hart, 
E/ichard le Stere, Adam le Fox, Peter le Hogge. In 
their primary application they were sobriquets, allusive, 
as in the cases above cited, either to the characteristic 
qualities of the persons, or to some incident of their 
lives. Of the latter class various instances will be found 
in the course of these volumes. 

A few have been latinized, as Leo, Avis, Mus and 
Aries J and still retain that form. 



T may appear somewhat incongruous to 
combine in one chapter Surnames de- 
rived from such opposite sources as 
those indicated above, and thus to 
associate the armorial shield of the 
patrician warrior with the sign-post 
of the plebeian innholder or shopkeeper. However 
infi^a dignitatein such a procedure may appear, it is 
quite necessary for the developement of my subject, 
though I cannot here give my reasons for it, without 
unduly anticipating certain matters and conclusions 
which will occur before this chapter is brought to a 

I have already in another place partially discussed 
this subject, and must tlierefore be guilty of a little 
self-plagiarism here."^ I would also premise that this 
chapter, although in the main supplementary to the 
preceding one, will necessarily embrace some surnames 
not borrowed from the kingdoms of Nature. 

Armorial ensigns and family nomenclature possess 

* Curiosities of Heraldry, p. 130. 


several features in common. They originated about 
the same period_, and in part from the same causes ; 
and they serve alike to distinguish one race from 

The most incurious observer must have noticed that 
very many heraldric bearings coincide with the surnames 
of the families to which they appertain. Thus the 
Herons bear herons, the Beevors a beaver, the Co7'bets 
a raven, and the Hogges a boar. In all cases either the 
coat of arms or the surname must have originated first. 
When the surname was first adopted the arms are a 
mere play or pun upon it; and in a great majority of 
instances this is the case. A series of illustrations of 
these allusive or canting arms will be given in the Ap- 
pendix. At present we have only to inquire into the 
fact of certain families having borrowed their names 
from the insignia of heraldry. 

Salverte is of opinion that many of the chiefs who 
engaged in the Crusades assumed and handed down to 
their posterity names allusive to the devices which de- 
corated their banners of war. He also notices the fact 
that there were in Poland, in the twelfth century, two 
families called respectively Rose and Griffin, because 
those objects formed their ensigns or armorial devices. 
Hereditary surnames were not established in Poland 
for some ages subsequently, and those two names do 
not now exist there, though the descendants of those 
who adopted them probably do. In Sweden, also, there 
is proof that the nobles followed such a practice : 
" One who bore in his arms the head of an ox assumed 
the name of Oxenstiern (front-de-boeuf), and another 
adopted that of Sparr from the cheveron which formed 
the principal feature of his coat.^^* 

* Salverte, i, 2-10. 

I. 9 


" A particular instance of the armorial ensign being 
metonymically put for the bearer of it^ occurs in the 
histor}^ of the Troubadours, the first of whom was 
called the Dauphin, or knight of the Dolphin, because 
he bore this figure on bis shield. In the person of 
one of his successors the name Dauphin became a title 
of sovereign dignity. Many other surnames were in 
this manner taken from arms, as may be inferred from 
the ordinary phraseology of romance, where many of 
the warriors are styled knights of the Lion, of the 
Eagle, of the Kose, &c., according to the armorial 
figures they bore on their shields.^^* To this we may 
add that at tournaments the combatants usually bore 
the title of knights of the Swan, Dragon, Star, or 
whatever charge was most conspicuous in their arms.t 

" In the tournament and in the battle-field,^^ observes 
Salverte, " a knight presented himself with the vizor 
of his helmet down, and he was only known by the 
symbol he affected to bear. The designation of this 
symbol, associated as it was with every one of his glo- 
rious exploits, became a veritable surname.^^ 

Before proceeding to more special instances in this 
country, I would refer to the classical story of the 
origin of the cognomen Corvinus, assumed by M. 
Valerius the Roman tribune, which is not wholly irre- 
levant of our subject. According to Eutropius, '^ Qui- 
dam ex Gallis unum e Romanis, qui esset optimus, 
provocavit. Tum se Marcus Valerius, tribunus militum, 
obtulit, et cum processit armatus, Corvus ei supra dex- 
trum brachium sedit mox, commissa adversus Galium 
pugna, idem corvus alis et unguibus Galli oculos ver- 
beravit, ne rectiim posset aspicere, ita ut a Tribuno 

* Brydson's Summary View of Heraldry, pp. 98-9. 
t Menestrier. 


Valerio interfectus, non solum victoriam ei^ sed etiam 
nomen dederit. Nam postea idem Corvinus est dictus, 
ac propter hoc meritum^ annorum trium et viginti 
consul est factus/^* 

Eutropius is by no means an imaginative writer, and 
he doubtless delivers the story as he received it ; but 
Salverte rejects it as fabulous, and observes that the 
name may be traced with much greater probability to 
a figure of the bird which Valerius placed upon his 
helmet as a crest. The distinction of a crest was pecu- 
liar to commanders, t and some occult virtue may have 
been ascribed to this of the tribune, as was often done 
to the swords of the heroes of romance, and thus the 
tale became current that he had achieved his victory 
by the help of a raven. 

The illustrious line of Plantagenet derived their 
surname from the broom-plant, the badge of their 

The great English family of Septvans or ^ Seven- 
fans ^ are said to have borrowed their name from their 
singular armorials, which were wicker baskets used for 
winnowing corn. It may be objected that the num- 
ber of these objects borne by Sir Robert Septvans, as 
represented upon his tomb in Chartham church, co. 
Kent (1306) is but three. This does not prove, how- 
ever, that the number may not originally have been 

* Rom. Hist., lib. ii, cap. 6. " A certain Gaul challenged one of the 
Romans to a single combat, which Marcus Valerius, a military tribune, 
accepted. And as he went forth armed, a raven presently settled upon 
his right arm, and, after the combat commenced, so beat about the eyes 
of the Gaul with its wings and claws, that he could not see l)efore him ; 
in consequence of which he lost his life, and the tribune Valerius gained 
the victory and a name. For thenceforth he was called Corvinus ; and on 
account of this service he was made consul for three and twenty years." 

t The crests of antient heroes were personal, not hereditary. 


seven, as there are several instances 
of the diminution of a greater num- 
ber of charges to three in those 
times ; witness the royal arms of 
France, which were originally semee- 
de-lis, but reduced in this century to three. The arms 
of Trusbut are three water-bowgets, 'tres boutz/ and 
Mr. Montagu thinks the name was taken from the 

The six swallows (in French hirondelles) in the arms 
of the eminent Cornish family of Arundel^ furnish one 
of the most familiar instances of the agreement between 
the surname and the heraldric insignia of a family. 
In a poem by William de Brito, written in the twelfth 
century (an early age, be it remembered, in the history 
both of heraldry and of hereditary surnames), the 
Arundel of that period (about the year 1170) is asserted 
to have derived his name from the charge of his shield. 
He is represented as attacking William de Barr, a 
French knight. 

" Vidit hirundela velocior alite quae dat 
Hoc agnomen e\, fert cujus in cegide signum, 
Se rapit agminibus mediis clypeoque nitenti, 
Quern sibi Guillelmus Iseva prsetenderat ulna, 
Immergit validam prseacutae cuspidis hastam." 

Camden^s Remaines. 

" Swift as the swallow, whence his arms' device 
And his own name are took, enraged he flies 
Through gazing troops, the wonder of the field, 
And sticks his lance in William's glittering shield." 

C. S. Gilberfs Cornwall, vol. i, p. 470. 

To this the genealogist will object that there is histo- 
rical evidence that the Arundels took their surname 

* study of Heraldry, p. 70. 


from tlie town of that name in Sussex; and this is 
really the case. Still our extract is not the less valu- 
able, as proving from contemporary evidence that the 
practice of assuming a surname from the devices of the 
warrior^s shield was not unknown. 

Of the name Griffinhoof, Mr. Talbot observes, that 
it is '^ a literal translation of the German family name 
Greifen-klau_, or the Grifhn^s-claw, which I conceive 
must have taken its origin from some armorial bearings 
or device assumed by that family." Mr. Talbot then 
quotes an old Latin poem of the tenth or eleventh 
century, in which the hero is represented as sallying 
forth in quest of adventures accompanied by a single 
esquire, and bearing suspended from his neck a griffin^ s 
claw adorned with polished brass by way of a hunting- 
horn.* It was probably made of some foreign material 
of unknown origin, and, upon the principle omne ig- 
notum pro mirifico, ascribed to the fabulous creature 
half lion, half eagle, so familiar in heraldry. Mr. Way, 
in his edition of the ^ Promptorium Parvulorum,^ men- 
tions several griffins' claws which were formerly pre- 
served in various public collections. The one in the 
museum of the Royal Society, Dr. Grew pronounced 
to be the horn of a roebuck or of the Ibex mas. 

We may fairly conclude, 1 think, that sometimes 
such surnames as Lyon, Buck, Tiger, Leppard, Hawke, 
Raven, Heron, and some others which indicate courage 
or agility, have been borrowed from the shields and 
banners of war; but let no man glorify himself with 
the notion that he is sprung from some stalwart 
Crusader who fought under his own banner at Aeon ; 
or descended from some doughty champion of the 

* Vide English Etymologies, p. 302. 


tournament, until he can show proof that the founder 
of his race was not a craftsman or an innholder who 
borrowed his name from his own sign ! 

I have only to add on this part of the subject, that 
there are a few surnames which can have no other than 
an heraldric source, such as CJieveron and Bar7\ in 
whose arms the ' cheveron^ and ' bar^ are the principal 
features. The names of Saltire, Canton, Pile, Paly, 
Billet, Mascle, are found among us, although the arms 
attached to them do not consist of the charges from 
which they seem to have been originally borrowed ; 
while in some other cases, where the surname and arms 
agree, as in Cross, Gore, and Delves, the former may, 
with greater probability, be derived from other sources. 

To turn to the more plebeian part of our subject — 
I will quote from Camden* a passage which will at 
once enable the reader to understand the origin of a 
vast multitude of our family names : 

'^ Many names that seem vnfitting for men, as of 
brutish beasts, &c. come from the very signes of the 
houses where they inhabited ; for I have heard of them 
which sayd they spake of knowledge, that some in late 
time dwelling at the signe of the Dolphin, Bull, White- 
horse, Racket, Peacocke, &c. were commonly called 
Thomas at the Dolphin, Will at the Bull, George at the 
Whitehorse, Robin at the Racket, which names, as many 
other of like sort, with omitting at, became afterward 
hereditary to their children/^ 

To this may be added the testimony of Salverte, 
whose aid is always valuable : ^^ Some traders,^^ says he, 
"derived their names from the emblems they had adopted 

* Remaines, p. 102. 


as the signs of their establishments, in the same man- 
ner as the nobles had taken theirs from armorial 

Such signs, though now almost exclusively confined 
to inns, were formerly exhibited over the shop-doors 
of tradesmen. They formed one of the most curious 
features of our towns and cities in the ' olden tyme/ 
Every quadruped from the lyon and hee-cow (!) down 
to the hedgehogge, — every bird from the eagle to the 
sparrowe, — qyqvj fysshe of the sea, almost every object, 
in fact, artificial, natural, prseternatural, and super- 
natural, good, bad, and indifferent, from the angel to 
the devil, lent its aid in those days to excite the atten- 
tion of passers-by to the various articles of commerce 
exhibited for sale. This practice has long since given 
way to the more convenient one of numbering the 
houses of every street. It is still retained in many 
towns on the Continent. 

The city of Malines is said to abound with signS) 
and they add much to the picturesque effect of the 
streets of that remarkable place.* Even in England 
some faint traces of the practice remain, particularly 
in the more antique portions of old cities and country 
towns, where we occasionally find the Golden Fleece 
at the Drapers^, the Pestle and Mortar at the Apo- 
thecaries', the Sugar-loaf at the Grocers^, &c. The 
Red Hat, the Golden Boot, the Silver Canister, and 
others of that kind, which are everywhere pretty nu- 
merous, are modern imitations of the antient fashion, 
and are certainly preferable to such names as 'Commerce 
House,^ ' Waterloo Establishment/ and 'Albion House/ 
by which enterprising traders dignify their shops. A 

* Vide Gent. Mag. March, 1842. 


collection of antient signs still retained in use would be 
a curious and not uninteresting document. A great 
number of them miglit be collected from the imprints 
of old books. 

A famous bridge built at Paris in 1609 was called 
le Pont aux Oiseaiix : it was covered with houses uni- 
formly built, painted with oil-colours_, and distinguished 
by signs representing different birds.* 

We may fairly conclude that the names adopted 
from signs generally originated in towns, as such names 
as Field, Wood, and Grove did in the country; a con- 
sideration not devoid of some interest, as from it a 
conclusion may be arrived at as to whether one's an- 
cestors were citizens or ' rusticall men.' 

In Pasquin's ' Night-Cap,' printed in 1612, we have 
the following lines, which show that at that compa- 
ratively recent date, individuals were recognizable by 
the signs of their shops; 

" First there is maister Peter at the Bell, 
A linen-draper and a wealthy man ; 
Then maister Thomas that doth stockings sell ; 
And George the grocer at the Frying-pan ; 

And maister Timothie the woollen-draper ; 

And maister Salamon the leather-scraper ; 

And maister Frank ye goldsmith at the Rose ; 

And maister Philip with the fiery nose. 

And maister Miles the mercerf at the Harrow ; 
And maister Nicke the silkman at the Plow ; 
And maister Giles the Salter at the Sparrow ; 
And maister Dicke the vintner at the Cow ; 

* Salverte. 

t The word Mercer is now exclusively applied to dealers in silk ; but 
its original and true meaning is a general dealer. Gospatric Mercenarius 
occurs in this sense among the burgesses of Clithero, co. Lancaster, in the 
twelfth century. 

traders' signs. 201 

And Harry haberdasher at the Home ; 

And Oliver the dyer at the Thome ; 
And Bernard, barber-surgeon at the Fiddle : 
And Moses, merchant-tailor at the Needle.'"*' 

The following names are probably derived from this 
source : 

Arrow, Axe, Barrell, Bullhead, Bell, Block, Board, 
Banner, Bowles, Baskett, Cann, Coulter, Chisel, Clogg, 
Crosskeys, Crosier, Funnell, Forge, Fyrebrand, Grapes, 
Griffin, Home, Hammer, Hamper, Hodd, Harroiv, 
Image (the sign originally in honour of some saint, per- 
haps), Jugg^ Kettle, Knife, Lance, Mallet, Maul, Mattock (?), 
Needle, Pail, Pott, Potts, Plowe, Plane, Pipes, Pottle, 
Patten, Posnet (a purse or money-bag), Pitcher, Rule, 
Rainbow, Sack, Saw, Shovel, Shears, Scales, Silverspoon, 
Swords, Tankard, Tabor (a drum), Trowel, Tubb, and 
Wedge. I would have wound up this catalogue with a 
Winch ! but that name is more probably derived from 
a place so called in the county of Norfolk. 

Most of these were inn signs, particularly those 
which are denominations of vessels for containing 
liquors, as Barrell, Potts, Tankard, &c. In villages, in 
our own times, the trade of the innkeeper is often 
united to that of some handicraft. Hence come the 
names of tools, &c. Particular houses were formerly, 
as now, the resort of a particular class of artizans; thus 
the bricklayers would resort to the Trowel or the Hodd, 
the master of which would himself be a bricklayer; 
the carpenters to the Chisel or the Mallet ; the black- 
smiths to the Hammer or the Forge, the tailors to the 
Needle, &c.t 

* Vide Gent. Mag. Jan. 1842. 

t Nowadays the more pretending inn-keeping artificers give the armo- 
rials of their respective crafts as signs, e. g. the Blacksmiths' Arms, the 


Phenix and Spinks (sphinx) miglit probably be added 
in this connexion. 

As in the other classes of surnames, certain words 
which have become obsolete as to general use are re- 
tained ; I would in particular notice Coivlstick (often 
refined to Costic), Cade,^ Cottrell, and Cresset. A 
cowl is a vessel with two ears, generally made of wood, 

Carpenters' Arms, &c. ; those of a less ambitious grade give the Jolly 
Tanner, the Jolly Butcher, the Jolly Blacksmith, &c. * Arms^ are occa- 
sionally ^ found ' for callings hitherto unwarranted to bear them, as the 
Sawyers' Arms, the Navigators' Arms ! There is some very queer 
heraldry recently sprung up, especially in the vicinity of railways, as the 
Eaihvay Arms and the Tunnel Arms ! ! Both these occur at Lewes, as 
does also the Mount -Pleasant Arms ! ! ! 

* As I intend " to put into my book as much as my book will hold," I 
take an opportunity here, on mentioning the name of Cade, to correct an 
error into which most of our historians have fallen relative to that arch- 
traitor Jack Cade, temp. Hen. VL They uniformly state that he was an 
Irishman by birth, but there is strong presumptive evidence that to Sussex 
belongs the unenviable claim of his nativity. Speed states that " he had 
bin seruant to Sir Thomas Dagre." Now this Sir Thomas Dagre or Dacre 
was a Sussex knight of great eminence, who had seats at Hurstmonceux 
and Heathfield, in this county. Cade has for several centuries been a 
common name about Mayfield and Heathfield, as is proved both by nume- 
rous entries in the parish registers and by lands and localities designated 
from the family. After the defeat and dispersion of his rabble-rout of 
retainers. Cade is stated to have fled into the woods of Sussex, where, a 
price being set upon his head, he was slain by Sir Alexander Iden, sheriff 
of Kent. Nothing seems more prol)able than that he should have sought 
shelter from the vindictive fury of his enemies among the woods of his 
native county, with whose secret retreats he was doubtless well acquainted, 
and where he would have been likely to meet with friends. The daring 
recklessness of this villain's character is illustrated by the tradition of the 
district, that he was engaged in the rustic game of bowls in the garden of 
a little alehouse at Heathfield, when the well- aimed arrow of the Kentish 
sheriff inflicted the fatal wound. The place is still called Cade Street ; 
and the present writer once occupied for a short time the identical garden 
in which the rebel fell. 



and for the sake of convenience carried between two, 
on a staff, thence called a cowl-staff or cowl-stick. 
Cade is an old word for a barrel or cask, and hence a 
very appropriate sign for an alehouse or tavern. 
CoTTRELL, according to Grose, is a provincial word for 
a trammel for hanging an iron pot over the fire ; but 
this name, as I have elsewhere shown, is as probably 
derived from a very different source. A Cresset was 
an article used during the middle ages by soldiers ; it 
was a kind ©f portable beacon made of wires in the 
shape of an inverted cone, and filled with match or 
rope steeped in pitch, tallow, resin, and other inflam- 


mable matters. One man carried it upon a pole, an- 
other attending witli a bag to supply materials and a 
light. Shakspeare and Milton both allude to the 
cresset as a familiar object : 

*' The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes 
Of burnmg cressets." Henry IV, 1. 

" Pendent by subtle magic many a row 
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets." Parad. Lost. 

I have made the annexed sketch of a cresset from a 
description in Fosbroke^s Encyclopaedia : I cannot an- 
swer for its being very correct. A " cresset with 
burning fire " was formerly a badge of the Admiralty. 
In the Coventry Mysteries, p. 270, we read — 

" €xt^MXyi^, lanterni)^, antJ torcl^tj^ Ipti;." 

This name, Cresset, is the designation of at least 
one family of gentry ; and should my humble lucubra- 
tions meet the eyes of any who happen to bear it, I 
trust they will pardon my insinuation that they are 
descended from tradesmen — vulgar persons who had 
great flaring signs over their doors — when they call to 
remembrance that all famihes of gentle blood must 
have been amongst the plebeian ranks of society, till 
some adventitious circumstance raised them to eminence 
and wealth. A large number of our peerage families 
are proud to record their descent from* Lord Mayors of 
London, who must necessarily have been tradesmen ; 
and it is probable that many of our great houses of 
Norman origin, on tracing their pedigrees beyond the 
Conquest (were such a thing possible), would find them- 
selves sprung from the poor and servile peasantry of 
Normandy. For pride of ancestry there is perhaps no 
antidote more salutary or more humiliating than a 

traders' signs. 205 

calm consideration of the question proposed by the 
jester to the Emperor Maximilian, when engaged, one 
day, in making out his pedigree : 

OTj^m ^tJam 'Hdbtti antr i£i)c igpau, 
OTi)iie lua^ tljeit t^t geutttman? 

Bickerstaff (with its corruption Bickersteth) was pro- 
bably the sign of an inn. It seems to mean a staff 
for tilting or skirmishing. (Vide Bailey^s Diet, voce 
^ Bicker.'') In the old ballad of Chevy Chase we 
read — 

" Bowmen hicker'd upon the bent 
With their broad arrows clear." 

A Brandreth was an iron tripod fixed over the fire, 
on which the pot or kettle is placed (Halliw.) ; but the 
very similar word Brandrith means a fence placed for 
safety round a well. A Hassell was an instrument 
formerly used for breaking flax and hemp. Elsewhere 
I have deduced Jubh from the personal name, Job; but 
it may be from ' jubbe,' a medieval term for a vessel to 
hold wine or ale. 

" With him brought he a.jubbe of Malvesie 
And eek another ful of wyn vernage." 

Wright's Chaucer, 14481. 

The singular name of Burden is probably a corruption 
of ' bourdon,^ a pilgrim's staff* — a very appropriate sign 
for a wayside hostelrie. 

Several names are borrowed from habiliments of the 
person, as Cope, Mantel/, CoateSj Cloake, Meddlicote, 
(that is, a coat of many or mixed colours, a favourite 
fashion of our ancestors,) Bootes, Sandall, Slippei^ 
Frocke, Hose, Hat, Bodicoate, Capp, Peticote, Freemantle, 


Gaicote, and Mapes.^ I have no doubt that all these 
have been used as signs of houses, perhaps of inns ; 
certain it is that there was a tavern in South wark 
called the Tabard (a herald^s coat), and a very famous 
tavern it was too, which will never be forgotten so long 
as the name of Chaucer survives. 

" Befelle, that in that season on a day 
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay, 
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage 
To Canterbury with devout corage, 
At night was come into that hostelrie, 
Wei nine and twenty in a compagnie, 
Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle 
In felawship, aud pilgrimes were they alle. 
That toward Canterbury wolden ride."t 

Startup is an obsolete name for rough country boots 
with high tops. 

" A payre of startuppes had he on his feete. 

That lased were up to the small of the legge ; 
Homelie they were, and easier than meete, 
And in their soles full many a wooden pegge." 

Thynne's Debate (Halliwell). 

Barrette (Fr.) is a cap or bonnet, and a Capelin (Fr. 
' capeline^) is another species of female head-dress. 

Some of the names borrowed from habiliments, 
however, were given as sobriquets to those who first set 
the fashion of wearing them. Of this we have an 
instance in Curtmantle, the surname of our Henry the 
Second, given him from his having introduced the 
fashion of wearing shorter mantles than had been pre- 
viously used. This rule was reversed in later days by 
one Spencer, who gave his surname to the article bear- 

* Vide Archaeologist, vol. i, p. 102. 
t Chauc. Cant. Tales, Prologue. 

traders' signs. 207 

ing that name ; which is said to have originated in the 
following manner : Spencer was a celebrated exquisite, 
who stood so high in these matters that he had only to 
don any particular fashion of garment, to be imitated 
by all the dandies of the day ; and so confident was he 
of his influence in this respect, that he once declared 
that he verily believed that if he wore a coat without 
tails, others would do the same. He assumed this 
ridiculous vestment — so did they ! 

The surname Tabberer was in all probability first 
applied to some wearer of the garment so called. Ac- 
cording to Nares, the name of ' tabarder^ is still given 
at Queen^s College, Oxon, to the scholars, whose ori- 
ginal dress, the tabard, was not peculiar to heralds. 

Hugh Capet, the founder of the royal line of France 
in the tenth century, is said to have acquired that sur- 
name from a freak of which, in his boyhood, he was 
very fond ; that of snatching off the caps of his play- 
fellows. De la Roque, however, gives a difi'erent origin 
for this name, deriving it from ^ le bon sens et esprit 
qui residoit a sa teste ! ' 

The names derived from parts of armour, as Helme, 
Shield, Greaves, Swords, Buckler, Gauntlett, Gunn, 
Muskett, B7'ownbill, Brownsiuord, Shotbolt, and Broad- 
spear, were also, in all probability, signs of inns kept 
by those who first bore them. Some similar names, 
however, originated from fashions in warlike imple- 
ments, and were given to the persons who first used 
them. Strongboiv, the cognomen of the famous Earl of 
Pembroke, and Fortescue, that is, strong-shield, are of 
this kind. Longespee, the cognomen of William first 
Earl of Salisbury, and son of Fair Rosamond, was given 
him from his using a longer sword than usual; and 
William, son of Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury, 


gained the name of Talvas from tlie kind of shield so 
called. The French name Beauharmois is literally ' fine- 
harness/ and was originally applied to a person who 
took pride in splendid armour. 

To return to Signs, there is another class of surnames 
referable to this origin, such as Angel, Virgin, Saint, 
Apostles, Martyr, — names quite inapplicable to any 
living man, unless through the medium referred to. 

The Angel is still a common sign for inns, as Saints 
doubtless were before the Reformation. St. George 
and the Dragon still retain their post at the doors of 
some country alehouses. Martyrs, too, I dare say, 
were plentiful enough in those days ; but the only 
vestige of them remaining, so far as I am aware, is St. 
Catherine on her Wheel, now usually termed the Catton 
Wheel. Indeed, I am not quite sure whether it has 
not been corrupted still further to the Cat and Wheel ! 
There are some other names of a religious cast, as 
Crucifix, Challis, Paten, Halloivbread, Pix, a little chest 
for the reception of the consecrated host ; Pascall, an- 
other article used in the service of the church; and 
Porteus, a breviary or priest^s office-book ;* to which I 
am disposed to assign the same origin. 

Several family names represent articles of diet, &c., 
as Butter, Drybutter, Figg (an excellent name for a 
grocerf), Honey, X Milk,^ Mustard, Pickles, Pepper, Salt, 

* *' Item, I bequeath to the chappel of Richborough one Portuys printed, 
with a Mass-book which was Sir Thomas, the old Priest's." Will of Sir 
Jno. Saunder, parson of Dimchurch, &c. 1509. Somner's Ports of Kent. 
" By God and by ilvh partus wil I swere." Wright's Chaucer, 14546. 

•f- ** Johnny Figg was a green and w4iite grocer." Old Song. 

% The number of Surnames of which Honey forms a component part is 
remarkable : Honeyrnan, Honeysett, Honeychurch, Honyivood, Honeyiall, 
Honeywill, Honeybone, and Hunnybum! 

§ There is a dairyman bearing this appropriate name near Dorset Square. 

traders' signs. 209 

Sugar, Suet. Others correspond with beverages, as 
Ale J Beer, Claret, Ginn, P or twine. Perry, Negus, Rum, 
Sider,^ Sherry. Some of these may have been given 
to persons who traded in the respective comraodities_, but 
the majority might probably have a more satisfactory 
origin. For instance, the name Earle is pronounced 
Ale in some districts, and Beer is the name of two small 
towns in the county of Devon, while Rum is the de- 
signation of one of the Hebrides. 

I must not close this Chapter without adverting to 
one further batch of names connected with the fore- 
going; namely, those corresponding with the designa- 
tions of the divinities and celebrated persons of classical 
antiquity, such as Venus, Mars, Bacc/ms,-f Homer, Tulley, 
Horace, Vergil, C(Bsar. These are doubtless derived 
from traders^ signs. The former three would be appro- 
priate for inns, the remainder for the shops of medieval 
dealers in books or their materials. So recently as the 
last generation a celebrated publisher gave his establish- 
ment the name of the ' Cicero^s Head.^ 

It is sometimes amusing to find these immortal 
names in the oddest possible associations : " Many years 
have not elapsed," says Mr. Brady, in his humorous 
dissertation, '^ since Horace drew beer at Wapping ; 
Homer was particularly famous for curing sore legs ; 
and C^SAR was unambitious of any other post than 
that of shopman to a mercer !"J 

* Sider or Syder may be synonymous with Sidesman, the name of a 
petty civil office. 

t See, however, p. 76. The name of Steph. de Venuse, miles, occurs 
31 Edw. I, a ({WO, perhaps, Venus. 

X Since the above paragraph was written, a Juhus Caesar was iowwdi figfit- 
iw^intheybntmor market-place of a town in Surrey with one * Colpus^ and 
others. Caesar, on this occasion, sustained a defeat, for a body of ** ca^rulei 
Britanni " (in the shape of pohcemen) made him their prisoner, and 


^' Pan/' I am assured by a correspondent, '' keeps a 
village inn/^* 

Hector was the champion of Petersfield and an M.P. 

Cato is a wire- worker on Holborn Hill. 

Such surnames do not belong exclusively to England, 
for Victor Hugof assures us that 

M. Janus is a baker at Namur ! 

M. Marius a hairdresser at Aries ! ! and 

M. Nero a confectioner at Paris ! ! ! 

Of Mr. Sylvius, one of the courtiers of Charles II, 
we are told, that he was ^' a man who had nothing of a 
Roman in him except the name.^^J 

The failure of a person named Homer once gave rise 
to the following admirable (or execrable ?) puns : 

" That Homer should a bankrupt be, 
Is not so very odd-d'ye-see, 
If it be true, as I'm instructed. 
So iLL-HE-HAD his books conducted !"§ 

Mr. Potiphar would probably experience some diffi- 
culty in tracing up to his Egyptian namesake. 

brought him before the local bench, in petty sessions assembled. A de- 
tailed Commentary of this * Civil War' was given in the Sussex Express in 
December last ; and future editors of the warrior classic can do as they 
please about consulting it. 

* Several Roman families bore names which as they fondly believed 
furnished proof of their descent from Gods and Heroes. Halesus passed 
as the descendant of Neptune, and the Antonia family derived themselves 
from Anton, the companion of Hercules. Virgil makes Cluentius a de- 
scendant of the hero Cloanthes — 

** Cloanthus 

genus unde tibi Romane Cluenti." jEn. v, 123. 

And Julius Ceesar is deduced from liilus (Ascanius) : 

" Julius, a magno dimissum noraen liilo." JEn. i, 288. 

t The Rhine, vol. i, p. 76. 

X Grammont's Memoirs. 

§ Herald. Anom. 

traders' signs. 211 

Had we not evidence that such names as Colbrand, 
Gny^ and Bevis were antiently used as Christian names, 
I should not hesitate to add them to this catalogue of 
celebrated persons as being derived respectively from 
the Danish Giant, from the famous Earl of Warwick, 
and from the no less doughty, if less illustrious, Bevis 
of Southampton : 

** Which geaunt was myghtie and strong, 
And full fourty feet was long ; 
A foote he had betwene each brow, 
His head was bristled Uke a sowe !" 

Romance of Syr Bevis. 

It is remarkable that there is still living at South- 
ampton, the scene of his giantship^s adventures, a 
family of Bevis, who from time immemorial have been 
located there ; but whether they are lineally or collate- 
rally descended from this giant (whose effigies still 
adorn the Bar-gate of the town), I leave to the proper 
authorities at the Heralds^ College to determine. 

The name of Littlejohn may be imagined to have 
been borrowed from the far-famed compeer of that most 
redoubtable deer-killing, bishop-robbing, and sherifiF- 
tormenting wight. Master Robyn Hood of Nottingham- 
shire. That the name of a person so popular, so 
courageous, and so worthy as in some respects this 
antient forester was, should be adopted as a surname 
by some lover of ^^ hunting craft and the green- wood 
glade/^ in the next generation, would have been a cir- 
cumstance by no means extraordinary. Lord Abinger's 
family may be descended from a representative of the 
no less renowned Will Scarlett, another of the worthies 
of ' merrie Sherwood/ 



HERE are several English Surnames 
derived from consanguinity^ alliance, 
and other social relations, which, 
Camden thinks, have originated from 
the necessity of a second appellative, 
when two persons bearing the same 
baptismal name resided in close proximity to each other. 
This is a feasible derivation for several of them, but for 
others it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to 
account. The following are more or less usual in 
many parts of England : 

Father, Brothey^s, Br other son and Cousins; Oldson and 
Youngson; Batchelor, Lover, Paramour, Bridegroom and 
Bride; Neighbour, Gossip and Guest ; Husband, Young- 
husband"^ and Goodhusband ; Master and Servant ; 
Masterman, Py^entice and Nurse ; Friend and Foe ; 
Kinsman, Quaintance and Stranger. 
From obsolete words or forms : 
Fader, father. 

Waller, from the A.-S. ^ waller- went e,^ foreign men, 

^'Elles or Ellis, in British,^^ says Hals, '^ is a son-in- 

* W. le Youngehusbande. Subsidy Roll, Sussex, 1296. 


law by the wife, and Els or Ells, a son-in-law by the 
husband/' * 

Beldam (beldame) formerly meant grandmother, and 
was a respectful term. In course of time it has become 
synonymous with hag or witch. Kennett applies it to 
" an old woman that lives to see a sixth generation 
descended from her." Spenser uses it in its original 
French signification, ' fair lady.' (Halliwell.) How it 
became an hereditary surname, is not very obvious. 
The same observation applies to another female name, 
which^ however, does not exactly belong to this class — 
I mean Rigmaiden. ' A Uig' is deduced by Bailey 
from the Latin ridendo, and defined as ^ a wanton, 
romping girl,' and this appellation was probably first 
affixed to some fourteenth-century hoyden. There were 
at J east two families of our gentry who bore this name, 
with dissimilar coats of arms.f 

Bellamy. Dr. Giles, in his notes on the Saxon 
Chronicle, considers this a corruption of the Norman 
name ' Belesme,' but Halliwell produces a host of 
authorities for the O. English, or rather French, ^ Bel- 
Amy,' fair friend : 

" Belamy, he seyde, how longe 
Shal they folye y-laste ?" MS. Coll. Trin. Oxon, 57. 

Robert of Gloucester and Chaucer employ this word. 

Farebrother, father-brother, a Scottish term for 
uncle ; and a much more rational appellative than 
Bairnsfather, also a Scottish surname. 

Leif child. ' Lefe' is an archaism for love ; and 
' love-child' a provincialism for an illegitimate ; still 
this name may mean no more than ' dear,' or ^ beloved 

* D. Gilbert's Cornwall, vol. iii, p. 429. 
t Vide Gent. Mag. 1830, i. 305. 


child/ an opinion which is supported by the use of the 
phrase in the following lines, quoted by Halliwell, from 
a poem of the fifteenth century : 

" Therfor my leffe chyld, I schalle teclie the, 
Herken me welle the maner and the gyse, 
How thi sowle inward schalle aqueyntyd he 
With thewis* good, and vertw in alle wysse." 

Filiol, a Norman name of high degree, is probably 
the French ' filleul/ equivalent to our own Godson. 

From periods of age, or the phases of human exist- 
ence, we have Infant, Baby^f and Suckling; LittJechild; 
Child, Children (!); Boijs and Littleboys; Goodboys 
and Tallboys; Stripling and Youngman, — 

" The diapason closing full in Mann /" 

To these may be added Maiden, and its latinization, 
Virgo. Gasson looks like a corruption of the French 
' gargon,^ a boy. Littlepage speaks for itself. 

That some of these are corruptions, or words having 
a double meaning, is, I think, unquestionable. Mann, 
for instance, as I have already surmised, may be from 
the island in the Irish Sea; Batchelor is applicable 
otherwise as well as to an unmarried man ; and Boys, 
with its compounds, is, in all likelihood, a mis-spelling 
and false pronunciation of the French bois, a wood. 
The French surname Du Bois, naturalized amongst us, 
is equivalent to our Attwood, &c. Child is frequently 
used by our old writers as a title. It seems to be 
equivalent to Knight. In the ' Faerie Queen^ it is 
applied to the son of a king. Child Waters, the Child 
of Elle and Gil or Child-lSlorice, are personages well 

* Manners, deportment. 

t I have three or four authorities for this name. 


known to tlie readers of Percy's Reliques. The word 
sometimes occurs in its plural form as children. Thus 
in the ballad of Sir Cauline : 

" The Eldridge knight he pricked his steed ; 
Syr Cauhne bold abode : 
Then either shooke his trustye speare, 
And the timber these two children bare 
Soe sooue in sunder slode ! (split.)" 

Perc. Eel. Ed. 1839, p. 12 

" In former times the cognomen Childe was prefixed 
to the family name by the eldest son ; and the appel- 
lation was continued until he succeeded to the title of 
his ancestors, or gained new honours by his prowess/^* 

To such names of distinction also belong Rich and 
Poore, Vassall, Bond, Freemanj Freeborn, and Burrell. 
BoREL is used in Chaucer in the sense of lay, as 
Borel-clerks, lay clerks ; Borel-folk, laymen. 

The surname of Wardedu or Wardeux, formerly 
borne by the feudal lords of Bodiham, co. Sussex, is of 
very singular origin. Henry, a younger son of the 
house of Monceux, was a ward of the Earl of Ou in 
the thirteenth century, from which circumstance he 
left his antient patronymic, and assumed that of 
Ward de Ou. This Henry Wardeou or Wardedu 
was knight of the shire for Sussex in 1302.t 

Harmer, a name of rather dangerous sound, is really 
VQYj \idiXTcdess if its origin be traced, as I rather suspect 
it may, to the German cirni^l^ poor. 

Closely connected with some of the foregoing, are 
the names derived from periods of age, as Young, 
Younger, Eld, and Senior. Rathbone, from the Saxon, 
signifies ' an early gift.^ 

* London Encyc. 18 30. f Gleanings of Battel Abbey, p. 63. 


This class of surnames presents some very strange 
anomalies ; for instance, though Eld or Senior might 
serve very well to designate a man in the decline of 
life, how could it apply to his children ? " Yong/-* 
says Verstegan, " was derived from one^s fewness of 
yeares/^ if so, every day of his life must have made 
the absurdity of the name increasingly apparent. How 
oddly do such announcements as the following sound : 
** Died, on Tuesday week, Mr. Young, of Newton, 
aged 97.'^ " The late Mr. Cousins, the opulent banker, 
of Kingston, is said to have left the whole of his pro- 
perty to public charities, as he could not ascertain that 
he had a single relative in the world V '^ Died, on 
the 10th inst., Miss Bridget Younylmsband, spinster, 
aged 84." " Birth : Mrs. A. Batchelor, of a son, 
being her thirteenth,^' &c. &c. 

From periods of time we have several names, as 
Spring, Summer, Winter, The writer of the article 
'^ Names," in the ' Penny Cyclopaedia,^ thinks these 
three corruptions of other words, because the remaining 
season. Autumn, does not stand as a surname. Thus, 
he says, Spring signifies a hill; Summer, somner ;^ 
and Winter, vintner. This is far-fetched ; besides, I 
would not undertake to say that we have no Autumns 
in our family nomenclature. It is a word easily cor- 
rupted to the more natural spelling of Otham or 
Hotham, although I am quite aware that some famiHes 
bearing that designation take it from places where they 
were originally settled. f ISIoreover, it is no greater 

* See p. 129. 

f " The non-existence of Autumn as a surname may be accounted for 
by the recent introduction of that word into English : * fall' was the old 
name for the season, and is still retained in America. Fall occurs as a 
surname, though not so frequently as Spring, probably because not of 
such good augury." — From a Correspondent. 


matter of surprise that names sliould be borrowed from 
the seasons than from the months, the days of the 
week; and festivals of the church, like the following : 
Day, with its compounds Goodday, Singleday, and 
Doubleday ; Evening, Mattin, Vesper, Dawn, Noon, Eve, 
Morroiv, Weekes ; Maixh, May, August ; Suyiday, 
Monday, Thursday, Friday ; Christmas (and Noel, Fr.), 
Easter, Paschall, Pentecost, Harvest, Middlemiss, that is, 
if I mistake not, Michaelmas ; Holiday, Midwinter, &c. 
Domesday seems to be a corruption of '' domus Dei/' 
a name given to some religious houses. We are not 
singular in the possession of such names : the Romans 
had their Januarii, Martii, Maii, Festi, and Virgilii — 
the last so named from having been "borne at the 
rising of the Virgilise or seven stars, as Pontanus 
learnedly writeth against them which write the name 
Virgilius.^^ * 

Varro says that when two or more persons among 
the Romans bore the same appellative, Terentius, for 
instance, they were distinguished from each other by 
an additional name ; thus, if one was born early in the 
morning, he would be called Manius ; if in the day- 
time, Lucius ; if after the death of his father. Post- 
humus, f 

In Cambodia, at the present time, a child is fre- 
quently named from the day on which he was born ; 
and in some parts of Abyssinia, according to Salt, the 
father often gives his infants names allusive to the cir- 
cumstances under which they came into the world, as 
' Night-born,^ ' Born-on-thc-Dust,^ &c. 

On the name of Day it may be remarked that it 
may signify one of the humblest class of husbandry 

* Reuiaines, p. 111. 

t De Latina lingua, lib. viii. 

1. 10 


servants^ or, as we now call tliem, day-labourers. In 
a statute of Rich. II. regulating wages, we have 
" a swineherd, a female labourer, and a deye/' put 
down at six shillings per annum.* Deye is also an 
Old English term for a dairy-maid, and as such is used 
by Shakspeare. 

It is probable that most of these names originated 
from the period of the birth of the persons to whom 
they were first assigned, or from some notable event 
which occurred to those persons on the particular day 
or month. The name Friday, which De Foe makes 
Kobinson Crusoe give to his savage, is extremely 
natural. Perhaps they were occasionally applied to 
foundlings, after the fashion mentioned in Crabbers 
^ Parish Register :^ 

" Some hardened knaves that roved the country round, 
Had left a babe within the parish bound. 

>(: :jc % ^ % 

But by w^hat name th' unwelcome guest to call 
Was long a question, and it * posed' them all ; 
For he who lent it to a babe unknown, 
Censorious men might take it for his own. 
They look'd about ; they gravely spoke to all, 
And not one Richard answered to the call. 
Next they enquired the day when, passing by, 
• Th' unlucky peasant heard the stranger's cry. 
This known, how food and raiment they might give 
Was next debated, for the rogue would live ! 
At last, with all their words and work content, 
Back to their homes the prudent vestry went. 
And Richard Monday to the workhouse sent." 

I shall close this short Chapter with a few names, 
without offering a single conjecture as to their origin, 
viz. Quickly, Soone, Quarterly, Sudden, Later, Latter, 

* Knight's Pictorial Shakspere. 


and Last. Well may Master Camden remark of such — 


IS FULL OF DIFFICULTY/*^ an observatioii which also 
applies with equal if not greater force to many others 
which will occur in subsequent chapters. 



" J'ai ete tousjours fort etonne, que les Families qui portent un Nom 
ODiEux ou RIDICULE, ue le quittent pas." — Bayle. 

HE Leatherheads and Shufftebottoms, the 
Higginses and Huggenses, the Scroggses 
and Scraggses, the Sheepshanks and 
Ra7nsbotto7ns,^' the Woodheads and 
Addleheads, the Hytches and the 
Huddles, seem for the most part to have 
entertained no such dishke to their surnames, because, 
perhaps, having examined them etymologically, they 
have found nothing in them which ought to be taken 
in ynald ^arte. But it is indeed remarkable, that many 
surnames really expressive of bodily deformity or of 
moral obliquity, should have descended to the posterity 
of those who perhaps well deserved, and so could not 
escape them; particularly when we reflect how easily 
such names might have been avoided in almost every 
state of society by the adoption of others; for although 
in our days it is considered an act of villany, or at least 
a 'suspicious affair,' to change one's name unless in 
compliance with the will of a deceased friend, when an 

* The Doctor. 


act of the senate or the royal sign-manual is required, 
the case was widely diflPerent four or five centuries ago, 
and we know from antient records that names were fre- 
quently changed at the caprice of their owners. The 
law seems originally to have regarded such changes, 
even in the most solemn acts, with great indifference. 
Lord Coke observes : ^^ It is requisite that a purchaser 
be named hj the name of baptism and his surname, and 
that special heed be taken to the name of baptism, for 
that a man cannot have two names of baptism as he 
may have divers surnames. ^^ And again, " It is 
holden in our antient books that a man may have 
divers names at divers times, but not divers Christian 

^^ The question how far it is lawful for an individual 
to assume a surname at pleasure came before Sir Joseph 
Jekyll, when Master of the Rolls in 1730, who, in 
giving judgment upon the case (Barlow v. Bateman), 
remarked, ^ I am satisfied the usage of passing Acts of 
Parliament for the taking upon one a surname is but 
modern, and that any one may take upon him what 
surname, and as many surnames, as he pleases, without 
an Act of Parliament.^ It is right, however, to add, 
that the above decision was reversed by the House of 
Lords. ■'^* 

Names of this unenviable description are not very 
numerous ; still we have Bad, Trollope, that is, slattern, 
Stunt, that is, fool. Wanton, Outlaw, Lawless, ParneU, 
that is, a woman of stained character, Puttock, the 
same. Bastard, Silly, Silliman, Harlott, Hussey, Trash, 
Gublmis, the refuse parts of a fish, and Gallows, which 
strongly implies that the founder of that family attained 

* Archseologia, vol. xviii, p. 110. 


H station more exalted than enviable before he left the 
world ! 

Bene or Bean is an expression of contempt, the 
meaning of which is obscure.* Sometimes, however, 
it means good, and sometimes, obedient. Coe is a 
Norfolk provincialism, employed to designate 'an odd 
old fellow." Cokin (whence Cockin) is the Anglo- 
Norman for 'rascal." 

" Quoth Arthour, thou hethen cokin, 
Wende to thi devel Apolin." (Apollyon.) 

Arthour and Merlin. 

Penny father is a penurious person: 

** Rich raysers and pennyfathersJ' 

TopseWs Beasts, 1607. 

" ^dinoke. penyfathers scud, with their half hammes 
Shadowing their calves, to save their silver dammes." 

Morgan! s Phcenix Britan. (Halliwell.) 

Kennardj antiently Kaynard, from 'caignard" (Fr.), 
literally means "you dog."" It also signifies a sordid 
fellow, a rascah 

** A kaynard and an old folte, 
That thryfte hath loste, and boghte a bolte." 

MS. Harl. 1701. (H.) 

Cheale, in the southern dialect, is probably the same 
with chield in the northern, where it is applied to per- 
sons in a slighting, contemptuous manner. TheA.-S. 
'ceorl," whence our modern English 'churl," is probably 
the root. Goff means fool.f 

Craven, the surname of a noble family, might be 

* Percy's Rel. Ant. Poet. 

t * To give a goff! is a phrase used among the vulgar in Sussex, to 
express a peculiar contortion of the face indicative of extreme stupidity. 


thouglit to belong to the same class,* but this is a local 
name derived from a district in Yorkshire. 

The surname Devil is found in many countries. 
'Wilielmus cognomento Diabolus^ was an English monk. 
In France we meet with Rogerius Diabolus, lord of 
Montresor, and Hughes le Diable, lord of Lusignan, 
not to mention Robert the Devil, duke of Normandy, 
who had this delicate cognomen as a ^nom de nique.^ 
In Norway and Sweden there were two families of the 
name of Trolle (devil), and every branch of these fami- 
lies had a figure of the Evil One for their coat of arms. 
Diable occurs in Brittany, and Teufels (or devils) in 

Holland, t 

In the rage for applying opprobrious epithets in- 
dulged by our ancestors, even the infernal regions 
supplied a surname. A priory of Dominicans was 
founded at King's Langley, co. Herts, by Roger Helle, 
an English baron, presumed to be of the Lucy family, 
who lived at the beginning of the thirteenth century, 
and was so called because he had ' played the devil' 
with the Welsh : '^ a Vallensibus ita cognominatus, eo 
quod eosdem JVallicos, regi Anglice rebelles, tanquam 
inftirni (sic) undique devastavit.'^ % 

Many of the names mentioned in former chapters 
might be placed among these surnames of contempt. 
Such also are many of those indicative of ill-formed 
limbs or features, as Cruickshank, or Crookshanks, 
LongshankSj Legless, Hunchback, Greathead, Longnesse, 
&c. The antient Romans, like ourselves, had many 

* Craven, antiently a term of disgrace, when the party that was over- 
come in a single combat yielded and cried Cravent, &c. — Bailey's 

t Hone's Table Book, vol. i, p. 699. 

+ Weever's Fun. Mon. edit. IG-'H, p. 583. Gough, i, 319. 


family names implying something defective or disgrace- 
ful. Their Plauti, Pandi, Vari, Scauri, and Tuditani 
would have been with us the Splay-foots, the Bandy- 
legs, the In-knees, the Club-foots, and the Hammer- 
heads ! The meanness of the origin of some of the 
Patrician families is hinted at in their names. The 
Suilli were descended and denominated from a swine- 
herd, the Bubulci from a cow-herd, and the Forci from 
a hog-butcher ! Strabo would have been with us a 
Mr. Squintumj Naso (Ovid) a M7\ Bignose, and Publius, 
the proprietor, a Mr. Snubnose. Cincinnatus, and the 
curly poll of the Dainty Davie of Scottish song, are, 
strange to say, identical ideas. "^ 

There is no doubt, I think, that such names as 
Servus (slave) and Spurius (illegitimate) originally in- 
dicated the real condition of their primitive owners, 
though Salverte very ingeniously attempts to disprove 
it.f The modern Italians are not more courteous than 
their ancestors of " old Rome^^ in the names they give 
to some families ; as, for instance, Malatesta, chuckle- 
headed; Boccanigras, black-muzzled; Porcina, a hog; 
and Gozzi, chubby- chops ! 

To this place may also be referred the by-names of 
kings, as Unready, Shorthose, Sans-terre, Crookback. 
William the Conqueror was so little ashamed of the 
illegitimacy of his birth, that he sometimes commenced 
his charters with William the Bastard, &c. ! 

Among other names not yet mentioned may be 
noticed Whalebelly (for which, with all the rest that 
follow, I have good authority), the designation, pro- 
bably, of some corpulent person ; Rotten, Bubblejaiv, and 
Bottenlieryng J a name which occurs in some antient 

* Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. t Essai, i, 162. 


records of the town of Hull^ and was most likely given, 
in the first instance, to a dishonest dealer in fish. In- 
deed, I have little doubt that these odd appellations all 
applied with great propriety to those who primarily hore 
them. How well might Save- all designate a miserly 
fellow ! and Scrape-skm would answer the same purpose 
admirably. Doubleman would be odious if it related to 
duplicity of character, but humorous if it originated in 
some person^s being double the size of ordinary people. 
Stabback and Killmaster, though really horrible in 
sound, are not so in sense, as they are corruptions of 
local names. 

Ugl^ and Badman are not desirable appellatives, 
though of very honourable extraction : the former is 
the name of a village in Essex, and the latter a slight 
contraction of 'headman,^ one who prays for another, 
— certainly no bad man would do that ! Blackmonstey^ 
again does not bespeak our admiration, though it is a 
natural and not very distant departure from Blanch- 
minster (^ the white monastery^) a local name. 

Opprobrious surnames have certainly diminished in 
number within the last four centuries. Our old records, 
both civil and ecclesiastical, abound with them. Dr. 
Whitaker says, " if any antiquary should think fit to 
write a dissertation on the antiquity of nicknames in 
England, he may meet with ample materials in the 
Compotus of Bolton Abbey ; for here are found Adam 
Blunder, Simon Paunclie, Richard Drunken, Tom NogJit, 
and WJdrle the carter — the last, I suppose, by an anti- 
phrasis, from the slowness of his rotatory motions.^' 

The records of Lewes Priorj'- afford many names of 
this kind. Oculus Ferreus ('iron eye^) was a donor of 
tythes ; Moper was an excellent name for a recluse, and 
William Cakepen was literally a baker (pistor) ; Mange- 

10 § 


fer (^ eat-iron') might have given an ostrich for his 
crest ; Ylbod (ill-bode) and Malfeythe, if there be any 
truth in names^ were men to be avoided ; while William 
de Toto Mundo must have travelled very extensively. 
Pympe, Scoldecok, Greybaster, Takepaine, Burdenbars, 
and Sikelfot (sickle-foot? — a friend suggests 'siker/ that 
is sure, foot, as a better etymon), also occur in these 

It is perhaps scarcely fair to take many of the above 
names au pied de la letty^ej as they may not be really 
what they appear at the first sight or sound ; " and a 
more diligent search into our own antieut dialects, as 
well as into those foreign ones from whence we receive 
so many recruits, would doubtless rescue some of them 
from unmerited opprobrium. ^^ Nor should it be for- 
gotten that in the mutations to which a living language 
is ever exposed many expressions which now bear a bad 
sense had originally a very different meaning : the words 
knave, villain, and rascal, for instance, would not have 
been regarded as opprobrious in the thirteenth cen- 
tury. The name Coivard may be adduced in support 
of these remarks. " The Argillarius or Hay ward of a 
town or village was one whose duty it was to supervise 
the greater cattle, or common herd of beasts, and keep 
them within due bounds. He was otherwise called 
Bubulcus, q. d. Coiv-ivard, whence the reproachful term 
Coward.^' ^ With respect to the term nickname, I 
may observe that it comes to us from the French [nom 
de nique\ in which language niqiie is a movement of 
the head to mark a contempt for any person or thing. 

The following anecdote will serve to show how easily, 
even in modern times, a nickname may usurp the place 

* Rees's Enclyclopaedia. 


of a true family name. " The parish clerk of Lang- 
ford near Wellington, was called Red Cock for many 
years before his death; for having one Sunday slept 
in church_, and dreaming that he was at a cock-fighting, 
he bawled out : ^ a shilling upon the red cock '/ And 
behold/' says Lackington, " the family are called Red- 
cock to this day.''* 

* Lackington's Life. 




Y business, here, is first to name — and 
then to endeavour to account for — sucli 
names as Hope, Peace, ^ Joy, Love; An- 
guish, Bliss, Conscience, Comfort, Death, 
Grace, Justice, Liberty, Luck, Laugh- 
ter, Mercy, Pardon, Piety, Power, 
Pride, Patience, Prudence, Reason, Ransom, Verity, 
Virtue, War, Want, and Wisdom. To these may be 
added Bale, sorrow or misery, and a few other obsolete 
terms of similar character. 

It can hardly be supposed that these names were 
assumed by persons who fancied themselves pre-eminent 
for the possession of such attributes. Such arrogance 
would certainly have failed of its object, and have ex- 
posed the assumers to the contempt they deserved. 
To this remark it may be objected that the Puritans of 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries adopted a no- 
menclature precisely similar in the personal or Christian 
names, which they are asserted to have taken up in 

* The name Peace-of-IIeart, Paix-du-Coeur, occurs among the merchants 
of Rouen. 


lieu of the more ordinary and long-established appella- 
tives of general society. 

" It was usual/^ says Hume, (quoting Brome^s 
Travels,) ^^ for the pretended saints of that time [a.d. 
1653] to change their names from Henry, Edward, 
Anthony, William, which they regarded as heathenish 
and ungodly, into others more sanctified and godly. 
Sometimes a whole godly sentence was adopted as a 
name. Here are the names of a jury inclosed in 
Sussex about this time : 

'^Accepted Trevor of Norsham. 
Redeemed Compton of Battle.* 
Faint-not Hewett of Heathfield. 
Make-peace Heaton of Hare. 
God-reward Smart of Fivehurst. 
Stand fast-on-high Stringer of Crowhurst. 
Earth Adams of Warbleton. 
Called Lower of the same. 
Kill-sin Pimple of Witham. 
Return Spelman of Watling. 
Be-faithful Joiner of Britling. 
Fly-debate Roberts of the same. 
Fight-the-good-fight-of-faith White of Emer. 
More-fruite Fowler of East-Hadley. 
Hope-for Bending of the same. 
Graceful Harding of Lewes. 
Weep-not Billing of the same. 
Meek Brewer of Okeham.^^ 

Had Hume taken a little pains to investigate this 
subject he might have saved himself the reiteration of 

* Minister of Heathfield (1G08.) 


Brome's sneer about the " pretended saints/^ for we 
have indubitable evidence that such names were not 
assumed by the parties who bore them, but imposed as 
baptismal names. Take, in corroboration of this re- 
mark, a few instances from the parochial register of 
Warbleton : 

1617, Bestedfast Elyarde. 

Goodgift Gynninges. 

1622, Lament Willard. 

1624, Depend Outered. 

1625, Faint-not Dighurst. 

Fere-not Khodes. 

1677, Ueplenish French. 

Hence it will be seen that fully as much of blame 
(if any exist) rests with the clergy who performed the 
rite of baptism in these cases as with the " sanctified 
and godly^' parents who proposed such names of pre- 
tended saintship. I do not for a moment wish to ex- 
tenuate the folly of the persons who gave such absurd 
names to their children, but I deem it an act of justice 
to the much-maligned, though, in many respects, mis- 
guided and even fanatical Puritans of that period, to 
show that the sarcasm of the illiberal historian falls 
pointless to the ground, because, generally speaking at 
least, the bearers of such names had nothing at all to do 
with their imposition, and could no more get rid of them 
than any persons now living can dispense with the 
Christian names they have borne from their infancy. 
Indeed it seems to have become fashionable towards 
the close of the sixteenth century for parents to choose 
such forenames for their offspring, and scarcely any of 
the parish registers of the period, that I have examined, 
are free from them. It seems that Sussex was parti- 


cularly remarkable for the number of such names, long 
before the unhappy dissensions which disgraced the 
middle portion of the seventeenth century. There is 
another jury -list of the same kind for the county in 
the Burrell Manuscripts, Brit. Mus. without date, but 
which I have good reason for assigning to about the 
year 1610, many years, be it remarked, prior to the 
era of Barebones and his ^' pretended saints /^ and 
Camden, who wrote about the same time, alludes to 
these '' new names, Free-gift, Reformation, Earth, Dust, 
Ashes, Delivery, More-fruit, Tribulation, The Lord is 
neare, More-tryall, Discipline, Joy-againe, From-above, 
which have lately [that is probably about the close of 
Elizabeth's reign] been given by some to their children 
with no evil meaning, but upon some singular and 
precise conceit.^' The names ' Remedium amoris,^ 
' Imago sseculi,' are mentioned by this author, among 
the oddities of personal nomenclature of the same date. 
"While upon this subject, I am sure I shall be par- 
doned for the introduction of the other Sussex jury- 
list just referred to, particularly as it will probably be 
new to most readers. 

^^ Approved Frewen of Northiam.* 
Bethankful Maynard of Brightling. 
Be-courteous Cole of Pevensey. 
Safety-on-High Snat of Uckfield. 

* He was a near relative of Archbishop Frewen ; and, since the authen- 
ticity of these lists has been questioned, I would add, that my somewhat 
intimate acquaintance with the parish registers of Eastern Sussex enables 
me to state that many of the names they contain, besides hundreds of 
others, are to be found in those documents. The following extract from 
the register of Waldron may serve as a specimen of many entries I have 
met with : 

" F lie-fornication, the bace sonne of Catren Andrewes, bcq)t. y \1th, 
Desemb. 1G09." 


Searcli-the- Scriptures Moreton of Salehurst. 

More-fruit Fowler of East-Hothly. 

Free-gift Mabbs of Chiddingly [1616]. 

Increase Weeks of Cuckfield. 

Restore Weeks of the same. 

Kill-sin Pemble of Westhara. 

Elected Mitchell of Heathfield. 

Faint-not Hurst of the same. 

Renewed Wisberry of Hailsham. 

Return Mil ward of Hellingly. 

Ely-debate Smart of Waldron. 

Fly-fornication Richardson of the same. 

Seek-wisdom Wood of the same. 

Much-mercy Cryer of the same. 

Fight-the-good-fight-of-Faith White of Ewhurst. 

Small-hope Biggs of Rye. 

Earth Adams of Warbleton. 

Repentance Avis of Shoreham. 

The-peace-of-God Knight of Burwash. 

This species of nomenclature^ then, appears to have 
been extensively fashionable at the periods above re- 
ferred to ; and although I entirely concur with those 
who object to it on the ground of taste, we should do 
well to recollect that many well-accepted baptismal 
names are equally objectionable for the same reason. 
Rejoice Newton is not more puritanical than Letitia 
Smith ; nor Lovegod Jones than Theophilus Brown ; 
nor Pure Robinson than Catharine Styles ; nor Good 
Noakes than Agatha Sutton.* In Beverston church, 

* One Deodatus was Archbishop of Canterbury ; and in the list of 
African primates we find * Deo-datus/ ' Deo-gratias/ * Quid-vult-Deus,' 
' Habet-Deum ;' while * Pius' and ' Innocent' have frequently been assumed 
by tenants of the holy see. Of Puritan bishops we have read ; of Puritan 
popes, never ! 


CO. Gloucester, is the following curious Puritsm 
memorial : 

toife of Ci^omas; ^ur^e, mini^tn* of tije iuoitr in tl)i^ place, 
luljo tr»etf ti)t 1 tra» of iBecemb : in tlje ^eare of tl;e %oxtit 
1604, antfof J)er life ti)e 67tl> 

" Quae defuncta jacet saxo tumulata sub illo 
Bis Cathara, baud ficto nomine, dicta fuit. 

Nomen utrumque sonat mundam, puram, piamq. : 
Et vere nomen quod referebat, erat. 

Nam puram puro degebat pectore vitam, 
Pura fuit mundo, nunc mage pura Deo. 

" ndvTa KaSrapd ToTg KaBapoXg. 

Omnia pura puris. 

Tit. i, ver. 15. 

" She whom this stone doth quietly immure 
In no feign'd way had twice the name of Pure ; 
Pure, pious, clean, each name did signify. 
And truly was she what those names imply ; 
For in pure paths, while yet she lived, she trod ; 
Pure was she in this world, and now more pure with God."* 

To return from this long, though not perhaps irrele- 
vant digression, to the names which stand at the head 
of this chapter : I am inclined to think they originated 
in the allegorical characters who performed in the 
antient mysteries or moralities ; a species of dramatic 
pieces, which before the rise of the genuine drama 
served to amuse, under the pretext of instructing, the 

* Relton's Sketches of Churches, B. 2. 


play-goers of the " olden tyme/' The favourite cha- 
racters in these performances were Charity^ Faith, Pru- 
dence, Discretion, Good-doctrine, Death, Vice, Folly, 
and Iniquity,* who strutted upon the stage in gro- 
tesque costume, and did far more to injure than 
promote good morals. The humour of these performers 
was of the broadest kind, and their acting irresistibly 
droll, but indecencies both in gesture and language 
neutralized their attempts to improve the moral feelings 
of their audiences, and eventually brought them into 
disrepute. It is probable that the actors in these per- 
formances acquired the names of the characters they 
personated, which thus became surnames, and descended 
to their posterity. We have alread}^ seen that the 
names King, Lord, Knight, &c. originated in a manner 
very similar. 

The not very uncommon name Vice is doubtless 
borrowed from a character in the mysteries and pa- 
geants of the middle ages. '' He appears,^^ says 
GiflPord, " to have been a perfect counterpart of the 
Harlequin of the modern stage, and had a twofold 
office ; to instigate the hero of the piece to wickedness, 
and, at the same time, to protect him from the Devil, 
whom he was permitted to buffet and baffle with his 
wooden sword, till the process of the story required 
that both the protector and the protected should be 
carried off by the fiend ; or the latter driven roaring 
from the stage by some miraculous interposition in 
favour of the repentant offender/^ The name seems 
also to have been applied generally to any impersona- 
tion of wickedness. In Ben Jonson^s ^ The Devil is 
an Ass,^ we read : — 

* Strutt's Sports and Pastimes. 


" Sat. What Vice ? 

What kind wouldst thou have it of ? 
Pug, Why, any : Fraud, 

Or Covetousness, or Lady Vanity, 
Or old Iniquity."* 

The name of Woodhouse may be either a local one, 
or the designation of a favourite character in the mum- 
mings and Christmas festivities of our ancestors — if the 
latter, it may find a place here. The Wodehouse^ or 
Wild Man of the Woods, was usually represented as 
a hairy monster wreathed about the temples and loins 
with holly and ivy, and much resembling the '' wild 
man^^^ so familiar in heraldric bearings. I am inclined 
to think he was originally derived from theWoden of the 
Saxon mythology. The etymon of Woden appears to 
be pobe, mad, wild, furious, which agrees well enough 
with the assumed character of the " Wodehouse 
straunge^^ of the olden days of merrie England. As the 
Wodehouse was distinct from tlie religious cast of the 
characters who performed in the Mysteries just referred 
to, he survived the Reformation, and continued to be 
a favourite till a comparatively recent period. '^ When 
Queen Elizabeth was entertained at Kenilworth Castle, 
various spectacles were contrived for her amusement, 
and some of them produced, without any previous no- 
tice, to take her, as it were, by surprise. It happened 
about nine o^ clock one evening, as her majesty returned 
from hunting, and was riding by torch-light, there 
came suddenly out of the wood by the road-side, a man 
habited like a savage, covered with ivy, holding in one 
of his hands an oaken plant torn up by the roots, who 

* Knight's Pict. Shakspere. 


placed himself before her, aud after holding some dis- 
course with a counterfeit echo_, repeated a poetical 
oration in her praise, which was well received. This 
man was Thomas Gascoyne the poet ; and the verses 
he spoke on the occasion were of his own composition/^* 

As an accompaniment to this Chapter I here present 
the " lively effigies " of a Wodehouse, " set down/^ as 
old Verstegan would say, " in picture/'' 

* NichoU's Progresses, vol. i, quoted in Hone's Strutt's Sports and Pas- 
times, p. 253. 



T is highly probable that not a few of 
the family names which baffle the 
etymologist, and seem to have no 
manner of propriety in them, were 
originally applied to persons who ha- 
bitually employed some oath or other 
exclamation, and so interlarded their conversation with 
it, that it was associated with all their neighbours^ 
recollections of them. In a rude state of society these 
expressions would become the sobriquets by which such 
persons would be known; and upon the establishment 
of an hereditary nomenclature they would descend as 
veritable surnames. 

How readily any habitual expression of a person 
may be turned against him by his neighbours, and be- 
come a nickname, must be familiar to all who have 
had some experience of village life. We have known 
a stammerer acquire a sobriquet from the broken syl- 
lables of his rapid speech. Say-Say was the established 
appellation of an old gentleman whose address in con- 
versation was uniformly, " I say-say, old boy ;'^ while 
another was constantly called By George, from his use 
of that expression on all occasions. In the same 
manner the whole nation of the Teutonic Normans, 
after their settlement in Neustria, acquired from the 


Frencli tlie sobriquet oiBlgod, because (as Camden says) 
'^ at every other word tbey would swear " By God/' * 
Thus ' Norman' and ^ Bigod' became synonymous ex- 
pressions. Hence our old English baronial surname 
Bigod, and hence, as philologists assure us, the English 
word ^ bigot/ which was antiently equivalent to super- 
stitious. And it is not a little curious that the equi- 
valent Erench oath, ' Par-Dieu/ has become naturalized 
among us under the various modifications of Par dew, 
Pardoe, Pardoiv, and Pardee. 

The singular name of Parcel, sometimes written 
Parsall, is probably corrupted from ' Par-Ciel/ and 
corresponds with the indigenous one of Heaven. 

Profane swearing was one of the commonest vices of 
early times. To make asseverations by the soul or 
the body of the Creator was thought little of. Edward 
the Third had the motto — 

33p #OUe*^ S^OUl l am t!)i) man/^ 

wrought upon his shield and surcoat. I think the 
family names of Godsall and Godbody are from this 

Body and Soul, with their corruptions Sowle and 
Boddy, may have the same origin. 

* The occasion when the sobriquet was given was as follows : — " When 
Rollo had Normandy made over to him by Carolus Stultus, with his 
daughter Gisla, he would not submit to kiss Charles's foot. And when 
his friends urged him by all means to kiss the king's foot, in gratitude for 
so great a favour, he made answer in the English tongue fit ^t \iy> ^otJ, 
that is, Not so by God. Upon which the king and his courtiers deriding 
him, and corruptly repeating his answer, called him Bigod ; from whence 
the Normans are to this day termed Bigodi." (Camd. Britannia, edit. 1722. 
vol. i, p. ccix.) Rollo's answer, however, was not English, but the old 
Teutonic of his ancestors. 


Godhelpe, Godbehere, Godmefetch were probably 
habitual expressions of the persons who first acquired 
those names. These are all names of great antiquity ; 
so also are Olyfader (Holy Father) and Helpusgod, 
occurring in the Sussex Subsidy Rolls for 1296. 

Many of the names of Saints may have become sur- 
names in this manner; and hence w^e may account for 
the various names of which ^ Lady^ forms a part. In 
Catholic times, ^ By our Lady^ was a common oath. 
Among the names referred to are Ladyman, Shakelady, 
Tiplady, Taplady, and Toplady, and that most odd and 
most polysyllabic of English Surnames — God-love-mi- 
lady ! 

Godkin, Blood, and Sacre (Fr.) may be regarded as 
^ clipped oaths/ while Bodkin is, perhaps, a contraction 
of the medieval oath, ' Ods bodikins.^ 

I shall close this short Chapter with a list of names 
of very doubtful origin, but which may have been de- 
rived in each case from some expression much used in 
conversation by the person to whom it was originally 
given : 

Truly, Fudge, Hay day, So (?), Heigho^ Hum, Well- 
done, Goodlad, Farewell, Goodsir, Godsalve, Goodluck. 

Goodday, Godden (good-even), still used in the North. 

Belcher is, perhaps, the O. French hel chere, good 
company : 

" For cosynage and eek for bele cheer T Chaucer, 14820. 



GREAT proportion of nearly all the 
preceding classes of Surnames were in 
their primary application merely nick- 
names or sobriquets ; but there are 
many others which do not admit of 
classification with any of the kinds 
alread}^ reviewed. I shall proceed to give a few of 
these, with their probable derivations. 

Some seem to have been imposed on account of 
peculiarities of gait^ as Steptoe, Standfast, Golightlyj 
Rushoutj Treadaivay , Dance, Dancey, Standeven, Sky p. 
Others on account of a gossiping propensity, as 
Earwhisper, Chataivay, Hearsay, Cant, and Lip-trot ! 

Some indicate industry in various useful callings, as 
ClapsJioe, Gather coal. Gather good, Tugivell, Clinkscales (!). 
Others on the contrary denote indolence, as Doo- 
little, Timeslow.^ 

Some seem to refer to poverty ; as Houseless, Hunger, 
DroKght, Need, Dearth. 

* This is a name of no modern origin. Katherine Swinford, third wife 
of John of Gaunt, had a waiting chambermaid so called. Her tomb, for- 
merly in St. Andrew's church, Hertford, was thus inscribed : '* Hie jacet 
Alice Tyme-sloiv, quondam dominella Ducissae Lancastriae, qui obiit 
XVI Sept. Mcccxcvi." 


Others to some habit, as Whistle?', Eatwell, Cram [\), 
Rideout, CheWy Drawwater^ Twiceaday, Gotobedj Daily, 

Some seem appropriate to braggarts, as Challengt, 
Boast, Brag, Lusty bloo d ; and some to mischievous 
persons, as Scattergood. 

Swindles and Bilke would be unfortunate names for 
a couple of honest tradesmen; but I cannot guess at 
their origin. 

Some appear to refer to character and disposition, as 
Dudgeon, Wagg, Raiv, Smoothman. 

A few may refer to accidents which befel the original 
bearers, as Fallover, Quick/all,^ Crusheye. 

Others may indicate cowardice, as Chick, Faint. 

Drinkwater, Drinkmilk, Drinksop, and Drink dregs 
form a queer quartette of names, and seem to refer 
to fondness of the respective beverages, though Camden 
places the first among local names. 

Brownsword, Dagger, Pistol, Trigger, Warbolt, 
Shotbolt, if not nicknames, may have been inn-signs. 

Paybody was perhaps a very honest trader ; Ruegain 
was certainly a very foolish one, if honest ! 

Such names as Windoiv, Doors ^ Pillar, Porch., 
Tomb, Coffin, Casement, Treasure, Ring, Rope, Bridle, 
Latch, Lintell, Sheath, Goldring, doubtless refer to some 
forgotten incident in the life of the first bearer. 

In the wardrobe accounts of Edward I, the follow- 
ing sobriquets, become surnames, appear. f Thomas 
Thousandpound ; Robert Snowball (Snouball), by anti- 
phrasis perhaps for a dark complexion ; Nicholas 
Malemeyns (bad hands). Dulcia ffynamour ('Sweet 

* " Died on the 7th inst. at Came, co. Dorset, Mrs. Ann Quick-fall, 
aged 90!" — Lady^s Newspaper, June 17, 1818. 
t Ex. inf. W. 11. Blaauw, Esq. 
I. 11 


Fine-love^) ^yas a dealer in beer, and supplied the king 
at Westminster with 450 gallons of that refreshing 
fluid, which, if it possessed the same excellent qualities 
as the name of its vendor, must have been the 
^ superior XXX^ of the thirteenth century. 

Some appear to have been given on account of pe- 
culiarity of costume, as High-hat, SUpshoe, Gaicote. 

In a Sussex subsidy roll for 1296 occur the follow- 
ing names : /. Klenewater, Roger Sexajjple, Walter 
Pudding, R, Pluckrose, J. Pullerose, R. Slytbody (!), 
W. Bronivere {' brown-ware^), T. Spendelove, — Moke- 
trot, W. Storm, Nic. Trusselove, and W. Wolfheryng /* 
Symon Knave, in the same list, was not opprobrious in 
those early times, but still retained its primitive mean- 
ing of servant. 

An accidental mispronunciation of a word, or an 
inane and silly remark, has often been cast back, as a 
sobriquet, upon the person using it ; from this con- 
temptible source may spring such names as Sayce, 
Guppy,-f Maingy, Tivigger, Wools, Agg, Digmeed, Bubb 
and Griibh (all on the books of Pemb. Coll. Oxford 
in 1832), Twithy, Nutchy, Joiusy, Snarry, Vitty, 
Thruttles, Jagger, Wox, Fligg, Jibb, Ragg, Lutt, and 
Brabbs. (It is but right to add that these last names 
have been selected from a list compiled from such 
authorities as Police Reports and the Newgate Calendar. 
Hence probably many of them are modern sobriquets 
and aliases.) Diggle, Bultitude, Stubbin, Bibby, Buddy, 
Kebby, Pilley, Cupples, Hoppy, Twiddy, Hmnpage, 
Guy dickens, Puddy, Quell y, Repuke {sic !), Quomman, 

* The same. William le Hog, and Roger le Waps, occur in this roll. 
Waps is still a Sussex provincialism for wasp. 

t This may however be a corruption of Goupil, an obsolete French word 
for fox, which is still retained as a surname in Normandy. 

SOBRiaUETS. 243 

Killikilly and Bospidnick ! Doo, Datt, Dudge, Prigg, 
ShikeSj Bole, Jeve, Twinks, Bupp, Titt, Hext, Fake, 
Wodge, Fooks, Baa, Coggs, Snigg, Snagg, Smouch, 
Shick, Shunij Lum, Lush, Gagg, Smy, Voak, and Chout, 
seem to set all etymology at defiance. Several of 
them might probably be found in a ^ slang^ dictionary^ 
and others would in all likelihood prove_, on investiga- 
tion, to have originated within the last century. 



ECTOR BENE VOLE ! Lovest thou a 
Pun? Or art tliou of like opinion 
with that most grave and profound 
Doctor, that severe moralist, Johnson, 
hight Samuel; to wit, that he who 
would make a pun would pick a pocket?* 
If so, turn, I pray thee, to another chapter, and be thou 
no partaker of the evil deeds of those who idly play with 
words, and waste their breath to tickle their ears; 
for be it known that this chapter is to be devoted 
to puns. 

It is not my intention to dissertate upon puns and 
punning, but only to set down at random such of 
these '^ conceits, quirks, quibbles, jests, and repartees^^f 
as relate to family names. I would, however, premise 
a word or two in defence of the practice. 

The Great Author of man's redemption, addressing 
one of his disciples, says: ''Thou art Peter, and upon 
this Rock will I build my church.'^ Thus the sublimest 
Teacher of the sublimest morality saw no impropriety in 
an allusion in the nature of a pun. 

* And yet this very Samuel, once at least in his lifetime, perpetrated a 
pim. When Mrs. Barhauld was introduced to him, he growled (suomore), 
*^ Bare-bald! why that's the \ try pleonasm of baldness T' 

t Dr. Watts. 

PUNS. 245 

Sophocles, whom no one will suspect of false taste, 
making allusion to the name of Pyrrhus, calls him, 
' O Pur' — O fire ! Philoctet. act iv, sc. 2. 

When the defender of a certain extortioner, whom 
Lutatius Catulus accused, thought he could by a sar- 
casm disconcert his too vehement adversary : ^^Why,^' 
said he, " do you bark, little dog?" (Quid latras 
Catule?) ^* Because I saw a thief!" replied Catulus. 

^Eschylus and Horace occasionally pun. 

Thus punning has the sanction of antiquity. 

Much of the piquancy of modern dramatists results 
from their employment of this species of wit. Shak- 
speare abounds in puns on names. 

Punning was much affected in Germany in the six- 
teenth century, not only in literature, but in affairs of 
the most serious nature. Many of our old divines of a 
later period frequently indulge in a pun. 

Of Hudibras we are informed that — 

" he scarce could ope 
His mouth, but out there flew a trope;" 

and I have known some, equally fecund in puns, who, 
nevertheless, would not " pick a pocket" for the world. 

I. Sir Thomas More enjoyed a pun and a repartee. 
On one occasion his fondness for this species of humour 
got the better of his persecuting zeal. A man named 
Silver being brought before him, he said, '^ Silver y you 
must be tried by fireJ^ "Yes," replied the prisoner, 
" but you know, my Lord, that Quick Silver cannot abide 


the fire!^^ Pleased with this answer. Sir Thomas suf- 
fered the man to depart. 

II. In the seventeenth century, Attorney- general 
Noy was succeeded by Sir John Bankes, and Chief- 
justice Heath being found guilty of bribery, Sir John 
Finch obtained the office : hence it was said : 

^' Noj/s flood is gone, 
The Banks appear; 
Heath is shorn down. 
And Finch sings there ! 


III. Camden closes his curious collection of Epitaphs 
with the following, on ^^Thomas Churchyard, the poore 

" Come, Alecto, and lend me thy torch. 
To finde a Church-yard in the Church-porch, 
Pouerty and Poetry this Tombe doth inclose, 
Therefore, Gentlemen, be merry in Prose.''* 

IV. Dr. Lettsom, a famous physician of the last 
century, used to sign his prescriptions '^ I. Lettsom," 
which gave rise to the following : 

" When any patients calls in haste, 

I physics, bleeds, and sweats 'em; 
If after that they choose to die. 
Why, what cares I ? — 

I Lets'em." 

V. A person whose name was Gunn complained to 

* There is a little mistake here, for Churchyard was buried in the choir 
of St. Margaret's, Westminster. — Weever's Fun. Mon. p. 271. 

PUNS. 247 

a friend that his attorney in his bill had not let him off 
easily. " That is no wonder/^ said his friend, "as he 
charged you too high /'^ But this is not so good as an 
entry in the custom-house books of Edinburgh, where 
it appears that, A., meaning Alexander—" A. Gunn was 
discharged /or making a false report!'' 

VI. The late Mr. I. Came, the wealthy shoemaker 
of Liverpool, who left his immense property to public 
charities, opened his tirst shop on the opposite side of 
the street to that in which he had been a servant, and 
inscribed its front with — " I Came from over the 


VII. A FRIEND of mine on being introduced to a 
Rev. Canon of St. Paulas, named Wodsworth, remarked 
{aside) that the latter was non verbo dignus — not 
Wordsworth ! 

VIII. On the failure of two bankers in Ireland, 
named Gonne and Going, some one wrote: 

" Going and Gonne are now both one, 
For Gonne is Going, and Going^s gone V 

IX. A PARAGRAPH to the following effect went the 
round of the papers not many years since: Two 
attorneys in partnership in a town in the United States 
had the name of the firm, which was " Catcham and 
ChetmUy' inscribed in the usual manner upon their office 
door; but as the singularity and ominous juxta-position 
of the words led to many a coarse joke from passers-by, 
the men of law attempted to destroy, in part, the effect 
of the odd association by the insertion of the initials of 
their Christian names, which happened to be Isaiah and 


Uriah; but this made the affair ten times worse_, for the 
inscription then ran 

" I. CATCHAM AND U. CHETUM/' ! ! !* 

X. Most persons object to having their names made 
the subjects of a pun. " I was once/' says F. Leiber, 
"in company with a Mr. Short, in whose presence a 
Mr. Shorter was mentioned. ^ Your son ?' said a by- 
stander quite gravely to Mr. Short, who_, like most 
people^ disrelished the joke on his name very much.^^t 
Shenstone is said to have comforted himself with the 
consciousness that his name was not obnoxious to 
a pun. 

XI. The following epitaph on Constance Lucy (one 
of the Shakspearean Lucys), who died in 1596, aged 10, 
is in the church of the Holy Trinity, Minories. 

— " Et quondam lucida, luce caret. 
Ante annos Constans, humilis^ mansueta, modesta.^' 

XII. In 1818, a person named Danger kept a pub- 
lic-house near Cambridge, on the Huntingdon road. 
On being compelled to quit his house, he built an inn 
on the opposite side of the road, and placed beneath 
his sign, " Danger from over the way,^^ whereupon his 
successor in the old hostel inscribed over his door, 
" There is no Danger here now,^^ — a fair measure of 
vintner's wit. 

* Chetum is probably a corruption of Chefham, the name of an antient 
family in Lancashire, of which the munificent founder of Manchester Col- 
lege was a member. 

t Stranger in America, vol. ii ; a work which contains a very curious 
letter on American names. 

PUNS. 249 

XIII. Fogg and Mist were cliina-men in Warwick 
street. The firm afterwards became Fogg and Son, on 
which it was remarked that " the Sun had driven away 
the Mist!'' 

XIV. At Thundridge, co. Herts, is an inscription 
to the memory of Roger Gardiner, son of Edward 
Gardiner, Esq., who died in 1558, aged 21. 

**%Q^tK It'esl f)ere bffore iji'sl j^our. 
Clju^ trot!) t^e (^artliner lo^e \^i^ floiucr.** 

XV. The senior churchwarden of Hackney some 
time since was Mr. Dunn, and his junior, Mr. Welldone, 
which involved a paradox, for by this arrangement Mr, 
Welldone was under-Dunn! 

XVI. Within the precincts of one of our cathedrals, 
a ball being about to take place at the house of one of 
the canons, a gentleman of the name of Noys was asked 
in company whether he was to be present at it. '^ To 
be sure,'' said a gentleman who heard it ; " how should 
a canon-hall go off without Noys .?" 

XVII. In All-Saints, Hertford, is the following 
somewhat contradictory epitaph : 

^^ Here sleeps Mr. Wake, 
Who gave four small bells." 

XVIII. Skin and Bone were the names of two 
millers at Manchester, on whom Dr. Byrom wrote : — 

^^ Bone and Skin, two millers thin, 
Would starve us all or near it ; 
But be it known to Skin and Bone, 
That flesh and blood can't bear it." 

11 § 


XIX. One of Curran's wittiest repartees was made 
at tlie expense of Egan, an Irish barrister. Entering 
court one day, Egan saw a certain nameless intruder on 
liis friend^s wig, and tapping him on the shoulder, ex- 
claimed, with a knowing shrug — 

" Cujum pecus ? an Meliboei V 

to which, with admirable promptitude, Curran replied — 

" Non, verum ^gonis : nuper mihi tradidit Egan !" 

XX. A COUNTRYMAN reading upon a waggon the 
names of John Fell and Richard Fell, exclaimed with 
a horse-laugh, " Ho, ho ! Then I s'pose they both 
toombled together V^ 

XXI. Lord Norbury was asking the reason of the 
delay that happened in a cause, and was answered it 
was because Mr. Serjeant Joy, who was to lead, was 
absent, but Mr. Hope, the solicitor, had said he would 
return immediately; upon which his lordship humo- 
rously repeated the well-known lines, 

" Hope told a flattering tale 
That Joy would soon return.^^ 

XXII. An Irishman saw the sign of the Hising 
Sun near Seven Dials, beneath which the name of the 
landlord, Aaron Moon, was written with only the initial 
letter of the Christian name, whereupon he exclaimed 
to a friend, ^' Och ! Phelim, dear, see here. They talk 
of Irish bulls : why here^s a fellow now, who puts up 
the Rising Sun and calls it A. Moon !'' 

XXIII. Nicholson, whose portrait by Reinagle 

PUNS. 251 

adorns the University Library at Cambridge^ originally 
hawked prints and maps round the colleges for sale, 
and it was his custom to bawl at the foot of the stair- 
cases, '^ Maps/^ This at length became his sobriquet, 
and elicited from a learned Cantab the following witty 
hexameter : 

" Snobs call him Nicholson, plebeian name. 
Which ne^er could hand a snobite down to fame; 
But to posterity he^ll go — perhaps. 
Since Granta^s classic sons have dubbed him Maps/' 

XXIV. An epitaph on Mr. John Berry. 

" How ! how ! who^s buried here ? 
John Berry: Is^t the younger? 
No, it is the Elder-BERnY. 
An Elder-Berry buried surely must 
Rather spring up and live than turn to dust : 
So may our Berry, whom stern Death has slain. 
Be only buried to rise up again.^' 

Heraldic Anomalies. 

XXV. On the ivorthy Dr. Fuller : 

'^ Here lies Fuller's Earth V' 

XXVI. On Dr. Walker, who wrote a book on the 
English particles : 

" Here lie Walker's Particles.'' 

XXVII. Who has not read, in the Prolusiones Phi- 
losophicai of the venerable Josephus Millerius, the sex- 
ton's bill for making Mr. Button's grave ? — 

" To making a Button-hole^ 4^. Gd" 


Here is a variorum edition of the same pun : 
*^ Which is the deepest_, the longest, the broadest, and 
the smallest grave in Esher churchyard? Ans. That 
in which Miles Button lies buried ; for it contains Miles 
below the sod, Miles in length, and Miles in breadth — - 
and yet is only a Button-hole V^ 

XXVIII. GiRALDUs Cambrensis tells a curious 
anecdote of three persons travelling together, of whom 
the first was an archdeacon named Peche (latinized Pec- 
catwn), the second a rural dean called Deville, and the 
third, a Jew. When they arrived at Illstreet, on the 
borders of Wales, the archdeacon remarked to his subor- 
dinate that their jurisdiction began there and extended 
to Malpas. '^ Ah !^^ said their companion, " is it even 
so ? a great marvel be it if I escape with a whole skin 
out of this jurisdiction, where the archdeacon is Bin, 
the dean a Devil, and the boundaries Ill-street and 

XXIX. The name of the celebrated Alexander 
Nequam (Anglice ' Bad^) furnished the wits of his age 
with food for merriment. Wishing to devote himself 
to a monastic life in the abbey of St. Albans (his na- 
tive town) he applied to the ruler of that establishment 
for admission. The abbot^s reply was thus laconically 
expressed : 

"^i i)onu£l ^ts', beniag, i^i ^iqiiam, ncquaqiiam.*' 
If you be good you may come; if Wicked, by no means ! 

He changed his name to Neckham, and was received 
into the fraternity. 

* Canid. Rem. p. 141. 

PUNS. 253 

Philip, bishop of Lincoln, once sent Nequam this 

*' Et niger et nequam, cum sis cognomine Nequam j 
Nigrior esse potes, nequior esse nequis/^ 

^ Both black and bad, whilst Bad the name to thee, 
Blacker thou mayst, but worse thou canst not be/ 

To this nominal compliment Alexander retorted — 

'* Phi, nota faetoris, lippus mains omnibus horis ; 
Phi mains et lippuSj totus mains ergo Philippus." 

' Stinks are branded with a PA?*, 
Lippus Latin for blear eye; 
Phi and lippus, bad though either. 
What must they be both together !'"'^' 

Neckham died in 1227. 

XXX. Currants bon-mot on a brother barrister 
named Going is quite worthj^ of him. This gentleman 
fully verified the time-honoured adage, that ^a story 
never loses in the telling,^ and took care to add to every 
anecdote all the graces that could be derived from his 
own embellishment. An instance of this was once re- 
marked to Curran, who scarcely knew one of his own 
stories, it had so grown by the carriage. "I see,'^ 
said he, "the proverb is quite applicable, 'Vires 
acquirit eundo' — It gathers by Going !" 

XXXL Curran 's ready wit never failed him. A 
gentleman named JEneas !Macdonnell had been con- 
ducted to the watchhouse in a state of great ' incapa- 
bility,^ as he was returning from the enjoyment of the 

* Fuller's Worthies, p. 26. 


hospitality of Arclibisliop Troy, and was charged with 
the offence the following morning ; when Curran re- 
marked^ that the patrol had been guilty of a great 
blunder as well as a gross libel^ since the gentleman was 
no less a person than '^ Pius ^neas escaping from 
Troy's sack /" 

XXXII. " Sir/^ said a guest to his host one day at 
dinner, "this is a most excellent sirloin — pray what is 
the name of your purveyor ?^^ " Addison j" was the 
reply. " Any relation to the Spectator ?'' added the 
guest. " Most probably/' was the prompt rejoinder, 
" for I often see steel by his side V' 

XXXIII. On Mr. Aire, in St. Giles's Cripplegate : 

" Methinks this was a wondrous death, 
That Aire should die for want of breath V 

XXXIV. Dr. Hawes was a physician in full prac- 
tice. His name, one Christmas, called forth the 
following epigram : 

" Perpetual freezings, and perpetual thaws. 
Though bad for hips, are special good for Haives /'' 

XXXV. " Inscription on my bed-maker at Cam- 
bridge, by J. M., Nov. 1789. 

" Homini 

qui hie jacet 

Nomen erat 


Licet igitur viatori 



PUNS. 255 

'^ Poor Mus when here a Gyp of lowly house, 
Might wantonly be called a man or mouse; 
But dead, he seems by virtue of his name, 
To be a man of an immortal fame V 

XXXVI. Three celebrated physicians of Cambridge 
bore the names of Short, Long, and Askew. In Dyer^s 
History of Cambridge is the following punning conun- 
drum on this trio: c^ 

" What's Doctor J and Dr., and ^^ writ so ? — "' 

" Doctor Long, Doctor Short, and Doctor Askew ! !'^ 

XXXVII. Mr. Flower, formerly rector of St. Mar- 
garet's, Lothbury, for nearly half a century, had the 
following quaint inscription, probably written by him- 
self, inscribed on his tomb: 

" I came up like a Flower, anno 1622, and was cut 
down anno 1698, but shall flourish again.'' 

" Nunc nihil suave superest, prseter nomen." 

XXXVIII. A SHORT time since a tradesman named 
James Fell migrated from Ludgate Hill to Fleet 
Street, and announced the event in the following 


from Ludgate Hill;" 
under which a wag wrote — • 

'' Oh ! what a fall was there, my countrj^man !" 

XXXIX. An old lady, who was very anxious re- 
specting a favourite nephew, a student at Catherine 


Hall, enquired of his tutor liow he conducted himself. 
^' Oh/^ replied the latter, '^ very well indeed, madam; he 
sticks to Catherine Hall." "Sticks to Catherine Hall, 
does he ? the young reprobate — but his father was just 
like him, always fond of the girls !" 

XL. Sir John Manners, who was created Earl of 
Rutland, told Sir Thomas More that he was too much 
elated by his preferment, and really verified the old 
proverb, ' Honores mutant Mores J " Nay, my lord," 
retorted Sir Thomas, "the proverb does much better in 
English : Honours change Manners !'' 

XLI. A GENTLEMAN, named PagCj picked up a lady^s 
glove, and presented it to her with the following im- 
promptu : 


" If that from Glove you take the letter G, 
Then glove is love, and that I give to thee. 

To which she wittily responded : 

" If that from Page you take the letter P, 
Then Page is age, and that wonH do for me !" 

This small anecdote may probably be not very new 
to the readers of Josephus (Millerius, I mean); the fol- 
lowing better one is an acknowledged extract from that 
classical writer : " It being proved in a trial at Guild- 
hall that a man^s name was really Inch, who pretended 
it was Linch: 'I see,'' said the judge, ^the proverb is 
verified in this man, who, being allowed an inch, has 
taken an L!^ " " Out of this," adds a learned editor of 
our venerable author, "comes the jeu d^ esprit idXliQxedi 
upon Liston and his fascinating and petite spouse. 

PUNS. 257 

Some one having addressed the lovely little lady as 
" Mrs. L/^ " Mrs. L !'' repeated the comedian^ ^' I call 
her Mrs. InchP 

XLII. Epitaph : 

" Here lieth Jack Meadow, 
Whose dayes passed away like a shadow. 

N.B. His proper name was Field, but it is changed 
here for the sake of the rhyme I !'* 

XLIII. The following jeu d'esprit appeared in the 
newspapers in 1841. 

The ' Logue' Family. 

" The crier of a neighbouring county-court was upon 
a certain occasion required to go to the court-house 
door, and, as is usual in the absence of a witness, call 
out for Philip Logue, one of the sons of Erin, who had 
been summoned in a certain case then pending. The 
man of the baton accordingly stepping to the door, sang 
out at the top of his voice, Philip Logue ! Philip Logue ! 
A wag of a lawyer, happening to pass the door at the 
time, whispered in his ear, ' Epilogue^ also. Eppy 
Logue ! bawled the crier. ' Decalogue/ too, prompted 
the lawyer, sotto voce. Dicky Logue ! vociferated the 
crier. ' Apologue,' suggested the man of law. Apo 
Logue ! reiterated the official, at the same time expos- 
tulating with the lawyer, — ^Surely you want the whole 
family of ^em, Sir !' ^ Prologue,^ said the persevering 
lawyer, with assumed indifference. Pro Logue ! rang 
through the hall, attracting the attention of everybody 
in court, and shocking the tympana of the dignitaries 
on the bench themselves, who not understanding the 


cause of all tins vociferation, dispatched a tipstaff with 
all haste to order the crier to desist from any further 
invocation of the numerous family of the Logues !" 

So much, at present, for direct puns. Let us now 
turn for awhile to the odd and curious associations in 
the nature of puns to be met with in every-day life. 
Marriage, commercial partnerships, and similar relations 
frequently exhibit very humorous combinations, and 
sometimes the name of a person suits admirably to, or 
differs toto ccelo from, his office or vocation. 

XLIV. Hymen plays sad vagaries with the nomencla- 
ture of his votaries. We have seen Mr. Good married 
to Miss Evil; Mr. Bean to Miss Pease; Mr. Brass to 
Miss Mould; and Mr. Gladdish to Miss Cleverlij.^ '' Two 
Messrs. Lamb of Salisbury Square, London," writes a 
facetious correspondent, " married the two Misses Wolfe 
of Ewell, thus fulfilling an antient prophecy, si ita 
dicam!^' In Edinburgh lately the following ornitho- 
logical match took place, which set the whole neigh- 
bourhood in a flutter. Miss i/e?2rietta Peacock was 
espoused to Mr. Robin Sparrow, by the Kev. Mr. Dow, 
the bridesman being Mr. Philip Hawk, and the brides- 
woman Miss Larkm.'s,. The marriage lines were ex- 
tracted by Mr. John Crow, session clerk. It is worthy 
of further remark that the sexton^s name is Raven, one 
of the pew-openers is a Gull, and the assistant-sexton, 
not of course in holy orders, is a Henry IjAY-cock /f 

Mr. Goose, according to a provincial paper, lately 
married a Miss Flock, Hence a troop of goslings may 
result ; while from the union of Mr. DMnbar, iron- 

* Collet's Relics of Literature, p. 395. 
t Newspaper paragraph. 

PUNS. 259 

founder^ to Miss Link a long chain of posterity may be 

XLV. In partnersliips we often discover a singular 
junction of names^ as ^Bowyer and Fletcher;' ^Carpenter 
and Wood -^ ' Spinage and Lamb / ' Sage and Gosling / 
' Rumfit and Cutwell, tailors ;' ' Pipe and Tabor / 
' Greengoose and Measure/ another firm of tailors ; 
'Single and Double/ 'Evans and Liberty' (Piccadilly 
— a political cry) ; ' Foot and Stocking, hosiers / and 
' Wright, late Read and Wright/ ' Adam and Eve' 
were surgeons in partnership in Paradise Row ! In 
Holborn, ' Byers' and ' Sellers' live in fortunate proxi- 
mity on opposite sides of the street. 

XLVI. Sometimes (as I have said) the occupation of 
persons harmonizes admirably with their surnames. I 
have noticed this fact particularly in relation to inn- 

Gi7i and Ginman are publicans; so is Alehouse. 
Seaman is landlord of the ' Ship' Hotel, and A King 
holds the ' Crown and Sceptre' in City Road ! Portioine 
and (his poor relative ?) Negus are very properly licensed 
victuallers, one in Westminster, the other in Bishopsgate 
Street. Corker is a pot-boy, whose name affords a 
happy omen of his one day rising to the rank of a 
butler. Mixwell keeps a country inn. 

Again, Tugivell is a shoemaker ; so are Fitall and 
Treadaway ; so is Pinch (bad in to-to) . Another Tugivell 
is a dentist; Bird an egg-merchant; Hemp a sheriff's 
officer ; Isaac Paddle commands a steam-boat ; and 
Mr. Punt is a member of the Surrey wherr3^-club ! 
Laid-man was a pugilist ; and Smooker (qu. ' smoker?') 
a lime-burner ! 


Brand-ram is the name of an excellent episcopalian 
pastor; Nigh-font is a clergyman, and Order -son a 
Catholic priest. 

^^ Major Di?;^^/^ saj^s a correspondent, "lives next 
door to me, and Lazarus picks up his crumbs as a 
hawker, round the corner/^ 

A ^acheverel, according to Mr. Halliwell, means 
' the iron door or hloiver at the mouth of a stove.' 
What an appropriate designation for the only historical 
person bearing it, who was a most successful blower of 
the fires of discord ! 

Pop-ham is a general in the army ; Dun-man is the 
toll-taker upon Waterloo Bridge ; Light-foot was a 
dancing-master; Ride-out a stable-keeper; and Pye a 

XL VII. Sometimes, however, the name assorts very 
badly with the occupation. For instance, Littlefear, 
Butchery Death , and Coffin were the names of so many 
apothecaries and surgeons ; and Mrs. Despair was a 
monthly nurse ! Grind-all was an archbishop — should 
have been a miller. 

" In the neighbourhood of a fashionable square in 
London,^' deponeth a late newspaper paragraph, " are 
now living surgeons whose names are Churchyard^ 
Deathy Blood, and Slaughter J' 

A correspondent sends me the following list of gen- 
tlemen of the medical profession known to him : 

Doctors. Physick, Galen, Butcher, Slaughter, Coffin, 
and Tomb. 

Surgeons. Blood, Bone, Braine, Cutler, Cutting, 
Cannon (in the Artillery), Rawbone, Stabb, Burns, Hurt, 
and Smart ! 

Three butchers in Sussex bear the singularly ro- 

PUNS. 261 

mantic, but wholly inapproprifite^ surnames of Venus, 
Love, and Myrtle ! 

A ^ long beard ^ does not seem an appropriate ap- 
pendage to the chin of a pastry-cook. It is, however, 
no less strange than true, that some few years since 
there were on the eastern side of Regent Street only 
three confectioners, whose surnames were — 



With such names before him, Horace Smith asserts 
that " Surnames ever go by contraries.^' 

** Mr. Oldcastle dwells in a modern-built hut, 
Miss Sage is of mad-caps the archest, 
Of all the queer bachelors Cupid e'er cut, 
Old Mr. Young husband'?, the starchest. 

Mr. Swift hobbles onward, no mortal knows how, 
He moves as though cords had entwined him ; 

Mr. Metcalfe ran off upon meeting a cow. 
With pale Mr. TurnhuU behind him ! 

% :^ 4; H: % 

Mr. Barker'^ as mute as a fish in the sea, 

Mr. Miles never moves on a journey 
Mr. Gotobed sits up till half-after three, 

Mr. Makepeace was bred an attorney. 
Mr. Gardener can't tell a flower from a root, 

Mr. Wild with timidity draws back ; 
Mr. Rider performs all his travels on foot, 

Mr. Foote all his journeys on horseback !" 

XLVIII. " What a name,'' the Doctor would say 
"is Lamb for a soldier; Joy for an undertaker; Rich for 
a pauper, or Noble for a tailor ; Big for a lean or little 
person ; and Small for one who is broad in the rear and 
abdominous in the van ; Sho7^t for a fellow six feet 


withont his shoes ; or Long for him whose high heels 
hardly elevate him to the height of five ; Sweet for one 
who has either a vinegar face or a foxy complexion ; 
Younghusband for an old bachelor ; Merry weather for 
any one in November^ or February, a black spring, a 
cold summer, or a wet autumn ; Goodenough for a per- 
son no better than he should be; Toogood for any 
human creature ; and Best for a subject who is perhaps 
too bad to be endured/^* 

XLTX. Our painters of sign-boards are seldom very 
learned in punctuation. They generally either pre- 
sent us with a redundancy of stops, or totally omit 
them. In the latter case we sometimes meet with 
such inscriptions as — '^A Wood Smith,^ ' Lion Butcher,^ 
^ Clay Baker,^ ' Winch Turner,^ ' Peacock Builder,^ 
' Gay Painter,' ' Church Saddler,' ' Moon Gilder !' 

L. The godfathers of one Jeremiah Ekins were 
James Nott and John Butt, after whom he was baptized 
with both their Christian and surnames. The effect of 
his name, when heightened with a comma or two, is 
very singular : 

James, Nott John, Butt Jeremiah, Ekins ! 

LI. A HuxTER or market-gardener in Middlesex 
was brought before a magistrate for not having com- 
plied with the Act of Parliament which required that 
every owner of a cart should have his name, and that 
of his place of residence, with the words ' a taxed cart,' 
legibly painted thereon. In reply to the charge, the 
man asserted that he had done what the law demanded, 

* Southey's Doctor, vol. vii. 

PUNS. 263 

as the magistrate might easily convince himself ; where- 
upon^ a ^ view^ of the cart being taken, the following 
words were read : 


This looked strange, not to say contumacious, until it 
was explained to mean — 



LII. A MAN of the name of Nobis havin 
opened a public ' accommodation' on the high road 
leading from Pappenburgh, his neighbours caused him 
no little vexation by their opposition, &c. ; but this, 
and other difficulties, he overcame by industry and 
perseverance, and after he had established himself, he 
made the following addition to his sign-board : '^ Si 
Deus pro Nobis, quis contra nos ?^^ If God be for us, 
who can be against us ? 

LIII. SouTHEY tells a story of a lady who ordered 
a book entitled ' An Essay on Burns,^ thinking it was 
a dissertation on the genius of her favourite Scottish 
bard, but found to her disappointment that its ^ subject- 
matter' was burns and scalds, and that the author was 
a surgeon/* I might add what would be a new ' fact 
for the faculty,^ and contend that Burns and Scalds 
were synonymous, for the latter, among the old Scandi- 
navians, were poets. 

LIV. William III, and his followers, landed at Tor- 

* The Doctor. I once happened to be in a bookseller's shop when a 
rustic messenger who had been desired to order a copy of a well-known 
poem for his master, asked — " Please, Sir, have you got one of them books 
about Young Knight's Thoughts ?" 


bay, on Nov. 5, 1688. A Mr. John Duke (of Otterton), 
a man of wealth and influence in Sidmouth, joined the 
hero on his arrival : being presented to the king, who 
asked him for his name, he replied, with a timid hesi- 
tation, " John Duke of Otterton.^^ The prince ex- 
pressed his surprise, and taking from his pocket a list 
of the nobility, which he had been led to suppose was 
correct, looked over it, and then declared that no such 
duke was to be found there ! The gentleman, how- 
ever, soon rectified the mistake, by repeating his name 
with an accelerated pronunciation, — John Duke, of 
Otterton. The mistake being thus corrected, William 
smiled at it, and embraced John Duke with joy. 





^/7 ^ 

Lower, M. 
English surnames 




^^ QUEEN c ^^^-^liiS